(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "Fisher's River (North Carolina) scenes and characters"

THE LIBRARY OF THE 

UNIVERSITY OF 

NORTH CAROLINA 




THE COLLECTION OF 

NORTH CAROLINLANA 

PRESENTED BY 

^'^. L. Long 



C813 
TlUf 



This book must not 
be token from the 
Library building. 



WlAf 



THIS ITEWi 
ON THE SELF 



NOT BE COPIED 
-SERVICE COPIER 



Form No. 471 



4 



■ Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2012 with funding from 
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hil 



http://archive.org/details/fishersrivernortOOtalis 



i,ju^^ 



.^ 



t-UT^i^^*-^' 



^,J4u-^ y-^^ 







THE ITORN-RNAKE. 






J^ 



FISHER'S RIVER 



(NORTH CAROLINA) 



SCENES AND CHARACTERS. 



BY "SKITT," 



WHO WAS RAISED THAR." 



ILLUSTRATED BY JOHN M'LENAN, 



NEW YORK: 
HARPER & BROTHERS, PUBLISHERS, 

FKANKIIN SQUAB B. 

185 9. 



Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year one thousand 
eight hundred and fifty-nine, by 

HARPER & BROTHERS, 

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the Southern District 
of New York. 



PREFACE, 



When I commenced the following sketch- 
es I did not expect to publish them. I vis- 
ited my old native section in 1857, after an 
absence of twenty years, and while there the 
reminiscences of my early years naturally re- 
vived, from the influence of that strange but 
necessary law in man's mental structure, as- 
sociation of ideas, and on my return I con- 
cluded to write out some of the scenes and 
stories of that age and section. When I had 
nearly finished them, they were read to some 
friends, who warmly suggested their publi- 
H cation. I have consented, and the reader 
N< now has them, and will, of course, as one 
v^ of the sovereigns of the mental world, de- 
cide upon their merits. Long prefaces are 



yi PREFACE. 

not generally read, and I shall say but little 
in that line. I hope these "Scenes and 
Stories" will contribute a mite toward our 
country's stock of humorous literature. I 
choose to conceal my real name, and will be 
known by the nickname of my boyhood, 

"Skitt." 

July, 1859. 



CONTENTS, 



Ctapter Page 

I. DESCRIPTION OF THE COUNTKY 13 

II. "FAMUS OR NO FAMUS" 20 

III. JOHNSON SNOW 23 

THE NIGHT MEETING. — HE JOINS TUB CHUKCII. — HE APOSTATIZES. 
— THE INTEEVIEW AND TEIUMPH. 

IV. UNCLE DAVY LANE 50 

THE CHASE. — THE H0EN-8NAKB. — THE EATTLBBNAKE BITE. —THE 

FAST-RUNNING BUCK RIDE IN THE PEACH-TREE. — THE PANTHER. 

— THE TURKEY HUNT. — THE PIGEON-ROOST. — BIG PEACH-EATING. 
— SOME APPLE-EATING. — THE TAPE-WORM. — THE BUCK-HORNED 

SNAKE. 

V. UNCLE FROST SNOW 94 

VI. DICK SNOW 98 

CHAKAOTERISTIC ANECDOTES. — COURTSHIP. — GETTING RELIGION. 

VIL OLIVER STANLEY 124 

ESCAPE PROM THE WHALE. — INDIAN AND BEAK STORY. 

VIIL LARKIN SNOW, THE MILLER 139 

8T0RY OF THE EELS FAST-EUNNING DOG. 

IX. UNCLE BILLY LEWIS 152 

THE FIRE-HUNT. — UNCLE BILLY PEEACEEB. 

X. JOHN SENTER 1C5 

THE TRIAL. — THE WEDDING. 

XI. REV. CHARLES GENTRY 180 

THE ORIGIN OF THE WHITES. — JONAH AND THE WHALE. 

XIL FIGHTING 193 

JOBH JONES AND HASH-HEAD SMITH. — BUTTING. — A QUARTER OF A 
DOLLAR FIGHT ^PIGHT ABOUT A KIP-SKIN. 

XIII. THE CONVERT 206 

XIV. NOT A TRAVELER 212 



viii CONTENTS. 

Chapter Page 

XV. COOKING BIG EATING, Etc 21T 

XVI. A DECLARATION OF LOVE 222 

XVIL GLASSEL AND THE OWL 22T 

XVIIL ONE OF THE PEOPLE 229 

XIX. A CALL TO THE MINISTRY 233 

XX. OUTDONE 237 

XXI. STRAW I STRAW ! MORE STRAW HERE ! 241 

XXII. TARE AND TRET AN ALABAMA TALE 244 

XXIIL HAM RACHEL, OF ALABAMA 249 



ILLUSTRATIONS. 



THE HOEN-SNAKE Frontispiece. 

THE NIGHT MEETING 38 

BENDING BUCKSMASHER 66 

THE PIGEON-ROOST 82 

" GOOD-MORNIN', LADIES" 107 

ESCAPE FROM THE WHALE 131 

THE EELS 146 

THE FIRE-HUNT 157 

THE WEDDING 181 

BUTTING 200 

THE WINDSOR CHAIR 215 

TARE AND TRET 247 

HAM RACHEL, OF ALABAMA 266 

A2 



FISHER'S RIVER 
SCENES AND CHARACTERS. 



FISHER'S RIVER. 



I.— DESCRIPTION OF THE COUNTRY. 

The scenes and stories found in this work 
were enacted and told between the years 
1820 and 1829. Some description of the 
wonderful country where such striking scenes 
were acted and such marvelous stories were 
told, and of the men who figured prominent- 
ly in them, is imperatively demanded. I 
fi"ankly confess, however, that I am utterly 
incapable of doing the subjects ample jus- 
tice. But an effort must be made ; apolo- 
gies will not do ; so I address myself to the 
important and mighty task, and hope that 
the united world will return me a vote of 
thanks for rescuing from Oblivion's fell 
grasp such important items in the history 
of our country. 

Surry County is one of the northwestern 
counties of North Carolina, and joins Gray- 



14 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

son, Carroll, and Patrick counties, Virginia. 
These scenes are laid in tlie extreme north- 
western part of this county. It is a roman- 
tic section, and produces a people equally 
romantic. The highest part of the majestic 
Blue Ridge, a branch of the great Alleghany, 
stands in bold view, overlooking the whole 
country. From its base flow many crystal 
streams as cold as ice-water can be made in 
southern cities. Some of them are dignified 
with the name of "river." Tlius there are 
"Mitcheirs River," "Big Fisher's River," 
and "Little Fisher's River;" and of creeks 
there are "Stewart's Creek," "Ring's Creek," 
"Beaver Dam Creek," and so forth. All 
these streams, with branches and springs con- 
stantly pouring into them, after running a 
short and swift course, precipitate themselves 
into the pure, clear, and rapid Yadkin. Near 
the foot of the Blue Ridge, on its spurs and 
ridges, and on those rivers and creeks, lived 
the heroes whose wondrous feats and stories 
are recorded in the following pages. 

But "Shipp's Muster-Ground," on Ring's 
Creek, lying between Big Fisher's and Lit- 



DESCRIPTION OF THE COUNTRY. I5 

tie Fisher's Rivers, being the common centre 
of rendezvous for the whole country, I choose 
to call my work "Fisher's River Scenes 
AND Characters." These two rivers took 
their names from the loftiest peak of the Blue 
Ridge chain of the Alleghany, called "Fish- 
er's Peak." It is a peak of overwhelming 
beauty and grandeur. It was named after 
Colonel Daniel Fisher, who ran the line be- 
tween Virginia and North Carolina to the 
top of this peak. The line crosses this lofty 
point near its centre. The tradition of the 
country says — and I suppose it is correct — 
that, Mr. Fisher being a fleshy man, the as- 
cent of the mountain overcame him ; he fell 
sick, died, and was buried on its height. 

From the top of Fisher's Peak one has an 
unsurpassed view, east, west, north, and, 
south, of mountain piled upon mountain, lift- 
ing their heads high in the immense blue 
horizon far as the eye can take in an object, 
strengthened and assisted by the clear and 
pure atmosphere of that elevated region. If 
heathen mythology were true, this might 
have been the place where giants piled 



IQ FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

mountain upon mountain to scale the walls 
of heaven. Then "knobs" of lesser size 
more modestly lift up their heads to aid and 
swell the grand variety, while hills and ridges 
assist the spectator to gradually descend to 
small valleys, river and creek bottoms, where 
now and then may be seen small farms, cab- 
ins, and houses. But the view is indescrib- 
ably grand, and I shall attempt no farther 
description of it. One must see it to realize 
its grandeur. 

Near the base of the mountain, and a few 
miles east, south, and southwest of it, lived a 
healthy, hardy, honest, uneducated set of pi- 
oneers, unlike, in many respects, any set of 
pioneers that ever peopled any other portion 
of the Lord's globe. They came mostly from 
Virginia, and a portion of them from the 
middle and lower parts of North Carolina, 
and a few from other sections — a sufficient 
number from all parts to make a singular 
and pleasing variety. The emigrants from 
Virginia furnished exceptions to the general 
claims of Virginians, most of whom claim to 
belong to the "first families;" but it was 



DESCRIPTION OF THE COUNTRY. 17 

honor enough for them that they came from 
"Fudginny." This section was settled be- 
tween the years 1770 and 1780. They had 
stirring times during the Kevolution. The 
early settlers were pretty equally divided be- 
tween Whigs and Tories. A majority were 
probably Tories, but the Whigs, headed by a 
few daring spirits, held the Tories in check, 
and drove them to the mountain fastnesses. 
Many thrilling incidents could be narrated, 
but that is not my business in these sketches. 
Well do I remember hearing the old soldiers 
of the Revolution tantalize the Tories and 
their descendants. 

A large portion of these early settlers 
were wholly uneducated, and the rest of them 
had but a rude and imperfect rudimental ed- 
ucation. Each settler brought with him the 
rustic vernacular of his native section, and 
held on to it with great tenacity, thus mak- 
ing a common stock of the richest unwritten 
rustic literature that ever graced any com- 
munity. They had no use for grammar nor 
for grammarians ; they had no dictionaries ; 
what few literary questions arose among 



18 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

them were decided by Mesliack Franklin, for 
lie was the only well-educated man in the 
community, and had been to Congress. Jes- 
se Franklin, for several years United States 
Senator, and afterward Governor of North 
Carolina, lived and died here. For his op- 
portunities, he was the greatest man North 
Carolina has ever produced. But with most 
of the people a rifle, shot-pouch, butcher-knife, 
and an article they dubbed " knock-'em-stiff " 
were of vastly more importance than "lari> 
jn' ;" while the younger ones preferred the 
sound of the "fiddle," a " seven-handed reel," 
and " Old Sister Phebe" to a log-pole school- 
house. Yet, for all this, they were a clever 
folk, and one raised among them, who knows 
their worth every way, has ventured to re- 
cord some few of their deeds of daring. 

It is emphatically a "poor man's coun- 
try." There is but little good land in it. 
All the valuable land lies on the small riv- 
ers and creeks, in very narrow bottoms. No 
rich man will ever be tempted to live there. 
But, notwithstanding their long, cold winters 
and poor lands, the inhabitants, by hard labor 



DESCRIPTION OF THE COUNTRY. 19 

and by the most rigid economy, live well. 
All extravagance, however, is necessarily ex- 
cluded, and the people make the greater part 
of their own apparel, material and all. 
Money is very scarce, and corrupting fash- 
ions seldom reach them. That is one place 
where Paris, London, and Broadway seldom 
reach. I visited them in 1857, and found 
"sacks" and "joseys" in full fashion. 

But the reader is tired, I fear, of this pre- 
lude, if he has read it at all. A long intro- 
duction to a book is treated as unceremoni- 
ously as a long grace at table when men are 
hungry. It is like a green field to a starv- 
ing horse when the fence is sorry. But 
what has been said is essential to what fol- 
lows, and if I have erred it has been in be- 
ing too brief. 



20 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 



n.— "FAMIJS OR NO FAMUS." 

Fisher's River was one of tlie last places 
for the importance of militia musters, in the 
expressive language of that section, "to give 
up the ghost." I account for it from the 
fact that a few old Revolutionary soldiers 
lived in the community, and kept the "mil- 
iteer sperit" always at blood heat in the ris- 
ing generation. 

Their musters were semi-annual, held in 
May and November, and the old "Revolu- 
tionaries" were ever present. The "cap- 
ting," "leftenant," "sargint" — all the "os- 
siffers" — were proud to perform "revolu- 
tions" before them. " They knowed a thing 
or two about militeer tacktucks, just as well 
as old Steuben ur Duane tharselves." And 
the "cap'en" never thought for once of giv- 
ing the word "Right face! dismissed!" till 
they were gravely reviewed by the "old so- 
gers." 



"FAMUS OR NO FAMUS." • 21 

There was another matter of powerful at- 
traction to the old " Xutionaries" and the 
'"Litia" — the "knock-'em-stiff" — ^that was 
as punctual in attendance as any of the 
"patriots." "Nigger Josh Easley" with 
his "gingy cakes," and Hamp Hudson with 
his "licker," were men and things as much 
looked for as "Capting Moore with his mil- 
iteer uniform." 

Hamp Hudson was the only man in that 
whole country who kept a "still-house" run- 
ning all the year ; the weaker ones would 
"run dry." Of course, Hamp and his still- 
house, and all the "appurtenances thereof," 
were well known to the whole country. 

Hamp also had a noted dog, named "Fa- 
mus," as famous for being in the distillery 
as Hamp himself, and quite as well known 
in that entire region as his master. 

Now it came to pass in the course of hu- 
man and dog events that Famus fell into a 
"mash- tub" and was drowned. It was 
"narrated" all through the country "that 
Famus was drownded in a mash-tub, and 
Hamp had distilled the beer in which Fa- 
mus was drownded, and was gwine to carry 



22 • FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

it to the May muster to sell/' This report 
produced a powerful sensation in the com- 
munity, and was the only topic of conversa- 
tion. All appeared to believe it, and there 
was a general determination "not to drink 
one drap uv Hamp's nasty old Famus 
licker." 

The auspicious muster -day arrives, and 
the people collect from Stewart's Creek, 
Ring's Creek, Beaver Dam, Big Fisher s and 
Little Fisher's Rivers, from the "Hollow," 
"the Foot uv the Mounting" — from the Dan 
to the Beersheba of that whole country. I, 
too, was there — though but a lad, deeply in- : 
terested in the action of that important day 
— to see who would triumph, Hamp and 
Famus, or an indignant community. 

As soon as they collect they meet in little 
squads to debate the grave question. The 
old " Bevolutioners" are there, and their 
sage counsels decide all questions. "They 
font for our liberties, and they must be 
hearn." "Uncle Jimmy Smith," a leading 
man among them, particularly on "licker 
questions," makes a speech to the crowd just 



"FAMUS OR NO FAMUS." 23 

before Cap'en Moore tells the "orderly sar- 
gint" to "form ranks." Uncle Jimmy lisps, 
but he is clearly understood by his waiting 
and attentive audience. They are "spell- 
bound" by his nervous and patriotic elo- 
quence. What if he has a slight impediment 
in his speech? his eloquence is in his sub- 
ject. Hear him: 

"Now, boyith, I'm an old man — wath at 
the storming uv Stony Pint, under old ' Mad 
Anthony Wayne,' ath we boyith allers called 
him ; and IVe marched and countermarched 
through thick and thin ; hath fout, bled, and 
died nairly for seven long years ; I hath 
theen many outrages, but thith Famus busi- 
ness caps the stack and saves the grain. 
Jist think uv thith feller, Hamp Hudson, to 
'still the beer uv that mash-tub that Famus 
— that nathty, stinkin', mangy dog — was 
drownded in ; and fur to think fur to bring 
it here fur to thell the nathty, stinkin' whis- 
ky to hith neighbors, Cap'en Moore and com- 
pany, and to the old sogers, what fout for 
yer libertith. I tell you, boyith, you can do 
ath you pleath, but old Jimmy Smith — old 
Stony Pint — ain't a-gwine to tech it ! " 



24 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

' ' Nur I ! " " Nur I, Uncle Jimmy ! " shout- 
ed hundreds. 

The voice of the sergeant is now heard like 
a Blue Ridge cataract : 

"0-yis! o-yis! The hour of muster have 
arrove ! O-yis ! All uv ye what blongs to 
Cap'en Moore's company, parade here ! Fall 
inter ranks right smart, and straight as a 
gun-bar'l, and dress to the right and left, ac- 
cordin' to the militeer tacktucks laid down 
by Duane in his cilebrated work on that fust 
of all subjecks." 

They fall into ranks with precision, order, 
dignity, and gravity, prompted by their pa- 
triotism. Besides, the old "'Lutionary so- 
gers" are looking at them. 

Cap'en Moore now appears in his old- 
fashioned uniform, worn probably by some 
"'Lutionary cap'en" in many a bloody fight. 
'Tis an odd-looking affair; the collar of it 
repulses his "ossifer hat" from the top of 
his "hade;" the tail, long and forked, strik- 
ing his hams at every step, and two great 
rusty epaulets on his shoulders — enough to 
weigh down a man of less patriotic spirit, 
and on a less patriotic occasion. 



"FAMUS OR NO FAMUS." 25 

Thus equipped, "as the law directs," he 
commences the "drill accordin' to Duane." 

I had seen every muster on that patriotic 
spot from the time I was able to get there 
and to eat a "gingy cake," but never had I 
seen as poor a one as that was. There was 
no spirit nor life in the "militeer." Instead 
of following Duane, they were whispering 
and talking about Hamp and Famus. In- 
deed, they greatly needed the inspiration of 
Hamp's barrel. Cap'en Moore bawled till he 
was hoarse; his "leftenant" and "sargint" 
were exhausted, but it all did no good. They 
performed no "revolutions" according to 
Duane, Steuben, nor any other author ex- 
tant. The old " Revolutioners" could ren- 
der them no assistance, and in despair the 
"cap ting" dismissed them, in deep mortifi- 
cation. 

But where are Hamp and Famus all this 
time ? Yonder he sits, under the shade of a 
large apple-tree, solitary and alone, astride 
of his whisky-barrel. 

It is now one o'clock P.M., and his chances 

look bad ; his whisky-barrel has not been 

tapped, nor has any man dared to approach 
B 



26 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

his condemned head-quarters. "Old Nigger 
Josh Easley" has sold all his "gingy cakes," 
and is showing his big white teeth, rejoicing 
at his unparalleled success. Josh is the only 
joyful man on the "grit." The rest are all 
melancholy, standing or sitting in little 
squads, debating the mash-tub question. 
Hamp is quite composed, and his looks say, 
"Never mind, gentlemen. 111 sell you every 
drap uv my licker yit." 

Two o''clock arrives, and no one approach- 
es Hamp's apple-tree. His prospects are 
growing worse. But look yonder! The 
crowd has collected around Uncle Jimmy 
Smith. Let us approach and hear him : 

"Well, boyith, I don't know tho well 
about thith matter. Maybe weVe accused 
thith feller, Hamp, wrongfully. He hath 
allers been a clever feller, and ith a pity ef 
he ith innercent uv thith charge. The fact 
ith, boyith, it's mighty dull, dry times; 
nuthin's a-gwine on right. Boyith, you are 
free men. I font for your freedom. I thay, 
boyith, you can do ath yon pleath, but ath 
fur me, old Stony Pint Jimmy Smith, Fa- 
mus 07' no Fainus, T must take a little.'"' 



"FAMUS OR NO FAMUS." £7 

The speech of Uncle Jimmy was satisfac- 
tory and moving. His audience was not 
"spell-bound," for they moved up to Hamp's 
head-quarters with a "double-quick step;" 
the "barl" was tapped, "Famus or no Fa- 
mus," by the generous Hamp, who never re- 
proached them for their severe accusations. 
Soon the condemned barrel was emptied, the 
money was in Hamp's pocket, and he was 
merry as " Gingy-cake Josh." 

Uncle Jimmy soon began to sing his Rev- 
olutionary ditties, spin his yarns, and was 
happy enough. Cap'en Moore, "leftenant" 
and "sargint," soon forgot their hard day's 
work. The "'Litia" and others fell to dis- 
cussing questions of great moment; but the 
whole affair ended in skinned noses, gouged 
eyes, and bruised heads. That was a Famus 
day in the annals of "Shipp's Muster- 
Ground." 



28 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 



III.— JOHNSON SNOW. 

Of all the men in that romantic and pic- 
tm^esque country, I must yield the palm, in 
many respects, to Johnson Snow. 

He was one of the oldest settlers of Stew- 
art's Creek, near its head, and Avithin a few 
miles of the "Flour Gap" of the Blue Ridge. 
"Johnson," for so he was always familiarly 
called, had not the advantages of even a 
Dilworth's Spelling -Book education. He 
had learned the common vernacular of the 
country, with a few additional eccentricities 
of his own, but he "axed nobody no boot, 
and could weed his own row, and keep it 
clean too — that's sartin." 

Look at him, and you will believe every 
word of it, and more too. 

He is about five feet six inches high, well 
set, muscularly and powerfully made ; but 
he is good-humored, wears a generous face, 
and has a warm heart. Well for the "Stew- 



JOHNSON SNOW. 29 

art's Creek Suckers'" tlat he was a good-na- 
tured man. He is also fond of good eating, 
and shows his keeping. 

There was a long line of kings in Egypt 
that went by the common name of "Ptole- 
my," and to distinguish one Ptolemy from 
another the people and historians appended 
an adjunct expressive of the character or 
habits of each monarch. One of them was 
called "Ptolemy Physcon," or "Tunbelly." 
And to distinguish Johnson Snow from the 
numerous Snows that lived in that region, 
and to give the reader some idea of the effects 
of a good appetite, he might with great pro- 
priety be called Tunbelly Johnson Snow. 

Two things he was particularly fond of, and 
upon which he flourished whenever he could 
get them — turnip greens and "hog's gul- 
licks," the " Adam's apple" of a hog's haslet, 
or the "google," as it is commonly called. 
Johnson had departed from all technicali- 
ties, and called it "gullick." 

Hog-killing time was a glorious time with 
Johnson — equal to herring time with sea- 
board North Carolinians. At meals he 
would say to his wife Patsey, after "sweep- 



so FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

in' the platter" of the gullicks and turnip 
greens already on his rude, crossed-legged 
table, 

"Hello, Patsey ! God love your soul ! is 
there any more gullicks and greens in the 
pot ? If there is, God love your soul, Pat- 
sey! git 'um fur me." 

I will add that he would help all his 
neighbors kill hogs for the "gullicks." 

There was an arch, provoking smile ever 
playing upon his full face, which would at- 
tract attention in any crowd, and mark him 
out as a "rare bird" in any community. He 
had, moreover, a fund of sharp, provoking 
wit, running into satire when necessary, which 
Johnson maintained "were worth more than 
all yer college lingO, a plaguy sight." His 
waggish wit was a terror to the whole coun- 
try. Woe to the man who happened to fall 
into some ludicrous mishap ! He never 
heard the last of it from Johnson. He had 
"a rig" on nearly every man. Invulnerable 
himself, in one scrape only was he "cotched" 
— at Bellow's meeting — as you shall soon 
learn. 
S Johnson Snow was a necessary append- 



JOHNSON SNOW. gj 

age at every public gathering. " Licker" 
was at them all, and he loved it as a thirsty 
OX does pond-water. The fact is, it sharp- 
ened his wit, and he would indulge freely for 
that additional reason. 

He had a peculiar way of prefacing his 
weightiest sentences Avith a short word, ut- 
tered twice in a guttural manner, clearing up 
his throat, or his "gullick," as he would 
term ,it, just before uttering them. Henry 
VIII. and Johnson Snow used the same 
short, expressive, and significant word, 
though their pronunciation, action, and man- 
ner were quite diiFerent. When King Hen- 
ry used his ha ! men might walk a chalk- 
line ; when Johnson uttered his", some one 
might look out. 

For instance, when he was where "candi- 
dites" for the " Legi slater" were treating for 
votes, he would say, 

"Ha! ha! boys, let's take some uv the 
knock-'em-stiff, fur I can't half talk to these 
gentlemen candidites till I'm 'bout half 
slewed." 

Soon Johnson would have first one then 
another of the "candidites" aside, "borin' 



32 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

them fur the holler horn" to their hearts' 
content. 

He now lets fly his provoking gibes in ev- 
ery direction, striking one, then another, pro- 
ducing all the time peals of laughter from 
all except himself. In this he resembled 
Dean Swift. The man that laughs hearti- 
est Johnson turns upon him and he is "sei- 
sorified.'" A physician dares to laugh, and 
he ' ' cotches it" thus : 

"Ha! ha! hello. Doctor Oglesby, how 
do you come on killin' folks ? You d better 
be laughin' t'other side o' yer mouth, and 
down on yer knees a-prayin\ Ef I'd a kilt 
as many folks as you, wid yer callomy and 
jollermy, I'd now, instid o' laughin', be on 
the yeth, in sackcloth and ashes. Ha ! ha ! 
look a here, Doctor Oglesby, where do you 
bury yer dade? It's a bully grave-yard by 
this time, I s'pose. When you a-gwine to 
add any more yeth to it?" 

But the above is as much space as I can 
give my tunbellied, merry, and illustrious 
Stewart's Creek hero by way of introduction, 
and will now bring him on the stage in a 
few acts and scenes. 



JOHNSON SNOW g'^ 

The first act and the first scene was at 

THE NIGHT MEETING. 

Johnson Snow had the bump of curiosity 
fully developed. 

' ' I want to know suthin uv every thing 
that's a-gwine on. I'll be smashed inter pie- 
crust — yes, inter a million o' giblets, afore 
ril be as ignunt as some jewkers ! Ha ! ha ! 
I've hearn uv this feller Beller's shoutin' 
night meetin's, and I'm a-gwine to one on 
um. 

With such aspiring feelings as the above, 
our Stewart's Creek hero "moseyed" off, 
"three sheets in the breeze," to one of Par- 
son Bellow's night meetings. 

In rawrhide " stitched-down shoes," he 
stood six feet four inches. He was raw- 
boned, long-faced, pug-nosed, and. wide- 
mouthed. In size, small men were no more 
to him than Liliputians were to Captain 
Gulliver. A mountain "boomer," dressed 
in a linsey hunting-shirt down to his knees, 
with a leather band round his waist, a tow 
and cotton shirt, dressed buckskin pants, 

with a few other things of minor importance, 

B 2 



34 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES, 

made up the uniform, the surplice and gown, 
of the Rev. Mr. Bellow. 

We will now "mosey off" with Johnson 
to the "night meetin','^ and see what hap- 
pens, for there is always music where our 
jolly hero goes. 

Our "leather-britches parson" had a re- 
vival going on, and there was quite "a stir" 
among the people, for he made his mark as 
well as Johnson. Johnson staggers in, and 
with a good deal of difficulty takes his seat. 

Bellow commences "the sarvices," and, 
notwithstanding his powerful voice, quite in 
harmony with his name — despite of an occa- 
sional stamp with his big snake-killing foot, 
enough to break through any other than a 
puncheon floor ; with now and then a heavy 
blow upon the Bible with his herculean fist, 
and often a keen, deafening pop with his 
hands together, by way of variety — Johnson 
goes fast to sleep, and snores grandiloquent- 

ly- 

Johnson seems to be opposing the par- 
son's eloquence- — Bellow with his mouth, 
hands, and feet, Johnson only with his nose. 
The combat is not equal, but Johnson is 



JOHNSON SNOW. 35 

"one on 'um." Usually snorers have but 
little variety in their music, and it is grating 
and shocking to the nerves ; but not so with 
our hero, for he has a great and pleasing va- 
riety. He is as freakish, amusing, and as 
interesting in snoring as in any other rela- 
tion of life. There is nothing dull and mo- 
notonous about the man. It puts one in a 
good humor to look at him. 

The rivalry lasted for some time, and vic- 
tory appeared to be doubtful ; but at last 
the parson triumphed. At the close of his 
discourse — and a masterly effort it was — 
there was a general shout all through the 
congregation. Men and women mingled to- 
gether, shouting and clapping their hands. 
Johnson's nose eloquence was "nowhar." 

At last some of them — it happened to be 
women mostly — "crowded" Johnson, and 
woke him up, and the first idea that entered 
his "noggin"" was that he was in a general 
"still-house" fight. He was so "slewed" 
when he went in that he had forgotten all 
his antecedents, and woke up, as he thought, 
in a "ginVal row." He was no coward, and 
he determined to "wade through 'um." 



36 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

He rolled up his sleeves, clenched his fists, 
"gritted" his teeth, and commenced: 

"Ha! ha! what the devil you about 
here? What you smackin' yer fists in my 
face fur ? Ha ! ha ! ef you ar' 'umun, you'd 
better skin yer eyes and look sharp. I don't 
'low man nur 'umun to ^^op thar fists in my 
face. No, by juckers ! Hello ! git out'n 
the track here ! Rip shins and marrer 
bones.! Wake snakes, the winter's broke ! 
Ha ! ha ! here's at you ! I can lick the 
whole possercommertatus of yer afore you 
can say Toney Lumpkins three times, by 
Zucks ! Come on, yer cowards!" 

By this time the people were quieted in 
the shouting line, and began to leave the 
house — some to laugh, but most of them 
through fear — and every body was silent in 
the house but Johnson. The cowardly re- 
treat made him more furious than ever. He 
shouted after them, 

"Ha! ha! come back here ef you dare, and 
face a brave man ! Look him plump in the 
face and eyes a minnit, you cowardly vil- 
luns ! You're a purty set uv ill-begotten, 
turkey-trottin' pukes, to raise a quarrel with 




'niE NU.llT MI.KTIM; 



JOHNSON SNOW. 39 

a peaceubble man, and then run like a gang 
uv geese. Gone! gone, are you? Ha! ha! 
IVe Glared the tan-yard ! I've clared the tan- 
yard ! Hoo-pee ! " 

Just here Johnson discovered that the 
parson was the only man that maintained 
his position. He marched up to him, with- 
out the least respect for his reverence, and 
said, "Ha! ha! Beller, you're the ringlead- 
er uv all this devilment. You're the big- 
gest rascal in this crowd. I can lick you, 
sir, any day, any minnit." 

Rubbing first one fist, then th? other, in 
the parson's face, he continued : 

' ' Smell uv yer master ! Smell uv yer mis- 
tiss ! Smell uv yer master ! Smell uv yer 
mistiss ! Ha ! ha ! no fight in you ? You're 
a purty feller, to raise a row with a peace- 
ubble man, and then won't fight it out! 
Mosey ! Trollop ! Git out'n here, you 
dinged old sloomy Yahoo !" 

The parson, to get rid of his furious an- 
tagonist, left the house, and Johnson was 
left alone in his glory, having "clared the 
tan-yard." 



40 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 



HE JOINS THE CHURCH. 

Not long after the foregoing act and scene, 
Johnson had a spell of sickness that reduced 
his abdominal dimensions considerably, and, 
in his own expressive language, ' ' I got so I 
couldn't eat nuther turnup greens nur hog's 
gullicks, and like to a pegged out, and left Pat- 
sey a poor reflicted widder upon this sinful, 
villanus world — these mundanious shores uv 
mortality." 

He reflected not a little on his past life, 
more especially about that " night-meetin"' 
scrape."" So, in a mellow state of feeling, 
and with quite a penitent heart, he joined 
Parson Bellow's church. There was great 
rejoicing by the class at this "triumph of 
grace" — at this "wonderful convarsion." 
The great Goliath, who had defied Israel — 
that Manasseh — that Saul of Tarsus — was 
now a humble penitent and a devout "seek- 
er." 

Johnson, being an ardent and enthusiastic 
man any way, made pretty rapid progress in 
his religious duties and life, and so encour- 



JOHNSON SNOW. ^i 

aged the class that they had serious thoughts 
of procuring a license for him to preach ; 
"fur," said Parson Bellow, "he sartinly has 
a good gift in prayer, and thar mout be a 
work fur him to do. He mout be the in- 
strument to slay these Stewart's Creek sin- 
ners." 

One day, in class-meeting, Johnson "got 
happy," and groaned, cried, shouted, and 
"tuck on no little." Johnson Avould make 
a "racket" any where; it was his "natur, 
and he didn't b'lieve in squashin' natur." 
Bellow was gratified, went to him, and in- 
quired, 

"How do you feel. Brother Snow?" 
"Ha! ha! good — mighty good. Brother 
Beller, and no mistake ! It beats creation 
all holler ! Nothin' like it — not even hog's 
gullicks. Knock-'em-stiff 's nowhar compared 
unto it. Brethering and sistering, one an' 
all, I'll give you my 'pinion, though not axed 
fur it : a heap uv groanin', gobs uv shoutin' 
and cryin', goes a grate ways toads settin' 
off a meetin'. It's half the battle, sartin. 
The old inimy has to tuck his tail and leave 
when he hears it." 



42 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 



HE APOSTATIZES. 

Johnson''s "first love" did not continue 
sufficiently long for him to obtain a license 
to preach; hence he never "held forth," as 
was confidently expected. He imprudently 
went out to some public gathering, where 
" candidites, " his old associates, were treat- 
ing, got a scent of his old "inimy" knock- 
'em-stiiF, tasted a little, and, some said, ' ' got 
tight." 

Be the charge true or false, he declined 
rapidly in his religious duties, and it was 
very afflictive to his preacher and class. 
Bellow and the class did all they could to 
keep him in duty's path, but all their efforts 
signally failed. They never gave him up till 
they heard, with much pain, his answers one 
day to Parson Bellow in class-meeting.* 

All the other members of the class had been 
examined in the usual way, and had reported 
favorably in regard to their religious pros- 

5 * The author has no intention, in this sketch, to slur that 
most excellent denomination of Christians among whom his 
mother lived and died a pious member. 



JOHNSON SNOW. 43 

pects to the parson, and Johnson was the 
last one that was examined. He had listen- 
ed attentively to every one in their turn, with 
looks of doubt and indignation, as they gave 
an account of the "good work" in their 
hearts, believing all the time, judging from 
his looks, that they were "putting too much 
paint in the brush." At last the parson 
approached him, when the following ques- 
tions were asked and answers were given : 

"How do you come on. Brother Snowf" 
asked the parson. 

"I come on my feet," growled Johnson. 

"But how do you feel. Brother Snow?" 

" Ha ! ha ! nation hungry ! I want some 
hog's gullicks and turnup greens right smack 
now. Ef youVe got any on 'um, I'm fur 
'um right off. It wouldn't hurt my feelin's 
ef you'd draw a bottle o' knock-'em-stiff on 
me nuther." 

"But how do you feel in religious mat- 
ters. Brother Snow I that's the question," 
persisted Bellow., 

"Ha! ha! deng shacklin, I tell you ! I 
hain't a thimbleful o' religion, ef it was to 
save yer neck from the gallows. I can't tell 



44 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

as grate tales as the rest on ye here, nur I 
ain't a-gwine to do it nuther. My chance is 
mighty slim ; but I wouldn't swap it fur some 
uv yourn and a mess o' turnup greens to 
boot. Ax me no more questions, else I'll 
settle the hash with you all quick. That 
t'other time when I clared the tan-yard won't 
be a primin' to it." 

They took the hint, opened the door, and 
let him out, and thus ended Johnson's relig- 
ious freak. 

THE INTERVIEW AND TRIUMPH. 

Johnson Snow possessed, in addition to 
his waggish wit, a good deal of "hard com- 
mon sense like a hoss." He was rich in re- 
sources and expedients, and seldom failed of 
a triumph in times of emergency. In all 
the "tight fits" and "tarnations snarls" he 
got into, he would outfight, outquarrel, or 
outwit; out he would come with "flyin' 
colors." 

He triumphed over one of the sternest 
men in the community, as the following in- 
cident will show. 

There lived in the neighborhood a rigid 



JOHNSON SNOW. 45 

Baptist and great "Scriptorian," one of the 
few men in that social region that would not 
take some of the "good critter," but hated it 
most cordially. His aversion went so far 
that he would not let a drunken man tarry 
with him for the night. He was highly re- 
spected by all who knew him, even by the 
worst drunkards, and bore two titles which 
were quite honorable then and there. (This 
was before Americans began to manufacture 
and apply titles indiscriminately. ) He was 
always addressed very respectfully as 
"'Squire Charles Taliaferro*" and "Cap'en 
Taliaferro." 

Johnson knew him well, and was fully 
aw^are of his hatred to his friend "Cap'en 
Knock-'em-stiff;" butwhat ofthat? "Ha! 
ha ! I'm ready for the old 'coon, cocked and 
primed, and triggers sprung. I'll show him 
he don't know uvry thing about Scripter 
afore I'm done with him. This boy has 
dipped into Scripter as well as still-houses, 
sure as gun's iron." 

These sentences were uttered by Johnson 
at a "still-house," not long after he had quit 
Parson Bellow's church. He had just made 



46 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

a bet with some "jewkers" of a gallon of 
apple brandy that he could stay all night 
with "old Taliaferro, and could beat him all 
holler, too, talkin' on Scrip ter." 

Chuckling as above, he leaves a "still- 
house*" one cold evening, "high up in the 
picters," and arrived at Taliaferro's gate just 
at sunset, altered his voice, and hallooed. 
Taliaferro opened the door, and our hero com- 
menced. 

"Hellow, old Scripter ; I'm come to stay 
all night with you. I want to talk all night 
with you on Scripter. IVe hearn you was 
a reg'lar built screamer in that way, and I 
want to try my hand with you, sartin. 
'Squire, I'll talk all round you. I'll ring- 
fire you with Scripter. Ha ! ha ! see here, 
cap'en, ef you lick me out, you can beat the 
old Scripter-maker, sartin. I give you^ar 
ivarnin\ No shirkin', now, sartin." 

"You can not stay, Johnson," replied Tal- 
iaferro. "Come when you are sober, and 
you can stay a week, if you wish ; but a 
drunken man shall not stay all night in my 
house." 

"Don't be too fast, old 'coon," said John- 



JOHNSON SNOW. 47 

son; 'Til show you a trick ur two afore 
I'm done, sartin. You Humph! you 
Humph!" (calling a negro man named 
Humphrey) ; "come here, you bandy-shank- 
ed rascal, and take my hoss. Put him up, 
and in the mornin', ef he ain't up to his eyes 
in corn and fodder, I'll larrup you well. 
Ha ! ha ! you b'longed to me once, you cat- 
hamed puke, but I gulluped you down my 
gullick in whisky, and sold you to this rich 
man, Taliaferro, who's got too big fur his 
britches, and won't let me stay all night 
with him. But I'll show him I'm a huckle- 
berry over his 'simmon, sartin." 

Orders were obeyed ; the horse was taken, 
and our Stewart's Creek hero walked to the 
door and halted. He placed one foot on 
the door-steps, his elbow upon his knee, his 
chin in his hand, with a face as long as the 
president of a club of Pharisees, and com- 
menced his telling speech on "Scripter." 

"Ha! ha! Taliaferro, I read uv you in 
Scripter. You think I know nuthin' about 
Scripter, but I'll show you afore I'm done. 
I know and read of you in that holy book. 
You're that rich man in the parrabul, which 



48 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

you may find by sarching the 16th chapter of 
Luke, that fared sumptoriously uvry day, and 
I'm poor Lezzerus. That rich man wouldn't 
let poor reflicted Lezzerus come into his house, 
nur will you let me come into yourn nuther. 
Don't you see the 'nalogy? But that rich 
man died, and how was it with him, Talia- 
ferro ? Be alarmed, sir ! Poor reflicted Lez- 
zerus died, too, and how was it with him ? 
Look into Abram's bosom ; see him restin' 
thar, safe as a bar in a hollow tree in the 
dead o' winter. Ah ! you'll see how it will 
go with you and me in 'that day,' as Parson 
Beller calls it. When I'm shinin' away in 
Abram's bosom, like a piece uv new money, 
where will you be, Taliaferro ? Don't Paul, 
in Hebrews, tell you to be ' careful to enter- 
tain strangejs — thereby some have entertain- 
ed angels T What good does all yer Scrip- 
ter readin' do j^ou, ef you don't 'ply it bet- 
ter? You'd better be studyin' Gale's Al- 
mynac, for the good it does you. Ha ! ha ! 
you won't let me come into yer house, and 
even eat the crumbs what falls from your 
table, now groanin' and screechin' under rich 
dainties — maybe some hog's gullicks on it 



JOHNSON SNOW. 49 

too. Ill go out here" (leaving the door, and 
affecting to weep), "and lie down in yer 
fence corner, and let yer dogs come and lick 
my sores. You'll see how it will go with us 
in that day, sartin." 

"Come back, Johnson," said Taliaferro, 
"and stay all night. I acknowledge my- 
self beaten for once in 'Scripter.*' You cer- 
tainly got your lesson well while you were 
in Bellow's church."' 

C 



50 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 



lY.— UNCLE DAVY LANE. 

I MUST not forget, in these random sketch- 
es, my old friend and neighbor Uncle Davy 
Lane. Some men make an early and de- 
cided impression upon you — features, actions, 
habits, all the entire man, real and artificial. 
"Uncle Davy" Avas that kind of man. 

I will mention a few things that make me 
remember him. His looks were peculiar. 
He was tall, dark, and rough-skinned ; lym- 
phatic, dull, and don't-care-looking in his 
whole physiognomy. He had lazy looks 
and movements. Nothing could move him 
out of a slow, horse-mill gait but snakes, of 
which "creeturs he Avas monstrous Yraid." 
The reader shall soon have abundant evi- 
dence of the truth of this admission in his 
numerous and rapid flights from " sarpunts." 

Uncle Davy was a gunsmith, and, as an 
evidence of the fact, he carried about with 
him the last gun he ever made. His gun, a 



UNCLE DAVY LANE. 5I 

rifle, was characteristic of its maker and own- 
er — rough and unfinished outside, but good 
within. It was put in an old worm-eaten 
half-stock which he had picked up some- 
where, and the barrel had never been dressed 
nor ground outside. He would visit a neigh- 
bor early in the morning, sit down with his 
rifle across his knees, in "too great a hurry" 
to set it aside, would stay all day, would lay 
it by only at meals, which he seldom refused, 
but "never was a-hongry." 

He had a great fund of long-winded sto- 
ries and incidents, mostly manufactured by 
himself — some few he had "hearn" — and 
would bore you or edify you, as it might turn 
out, from sun to sun, interspersing them now 
and then with a dull, guttural, lazy laugh. 

He became quite a proverb in the line of 
big story-telling. True, he had many obsti- 
nate competitors, but he distanced them all 
farther than he did the numerous snakes 
that "run arter him." He had given his 
ambitious competitors fair warning thus : 

"Ef any on'um beats me, Til sell out ray 
deadnin^ and hustle off to other deadnin's." 

In sheer justice to Uncle Daw, however, 



52 ^ FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

and with pleasure I record the fact, that he 
reformed his life, became a Christian, I hope, 
as well as a Baptist, and died a penitent 
man. 

As stated, he was never known to get out 
of a snail's gallop only when in contact with 
snakes; and the reader shall now have, in 
Uncle Davy's own style, an account of his 
flight from a coachwhip snake. 

THE CHASE. 

"I had a hog claim over beyant Moor's 
Fork, and I concluded I'd take old Buck- 
smasher (his rifle), and go inter the big 
huckleberry patch, on Bound Hill, in sarch 
for 'um. Ofi* I trolloj)ed, and toddled about 
for some time, but couldn't find head nur 
tail uv 'um. But while I was moseyin' 
about, I cum right chug upon one uv the 
biggest, longest, outdaciousest coachwhip 
snakes I uver laid my peepers on. He 
rared right straight up, like a May-pole, 
licked out his tarnacious tongue, and good 
as said, ' Here's at you, sir. What bizness 
have you on my grit T Now I'd hearn folks 



UNCLE DAVY I.ANE. 53 

say ef you'd look a vinimus animil right 
plump in the eyes he wouldn't hurt you. 
Now I tried it good, just like I were trying 
to look through a mill-stone. But, bless you, 
honey ! he had no more respect fur a man's 
face and eyes than he had fur a huckleberry, 
sure's gun's iron. So I seed clearly that I'd 
have to try my trotters. 

"I dashed down old Bucksmasher, and 
jumped 'bout ten steps the fust leap, and on 
I went wusser nur an old buck fur 'bout a 
quarter, and turned my noggin round to look 
fur the critter. Jehu Nimshi ! thar he were 
right dab at my heels, head up, tongue out, 
and red as a nail-rod, and his eyes like two 
balls uv fire, red as chain lightnin'. I 'creased 
my verlocity, jumped logs twenty foot high, 
clarin' thick bushes, and bush-heaps, deep gul- 
lies, and branches. Again I looked back, 
thinkin' I had sartinly left it a long gap be- 
hind. And what do you think? By jin- 
go! he'd hardly begun to run — jist gittin' 
his hand in. So I jist put flatly down again 
faster than uver. 'Twasn't long afore I run 
out'n my shot-bag, I went so fast, then out'n 
my shirt, then out'n my britches — luther 



54 FISHER'W RIVER SKETCHES. 

britches at that — then away went my draw- 
ers. Thus I run clean out*'n all my linnen 
a half a mile afore I got home ; and, thinks 
I, surely the tarnul sarpunt are distanced 
now. 

"But what do you think now? Nebu- 
chadnezzar ! thar he were, fresh as a mount- 
ing buck jist scared up. I soon seen that 
wouldn't do, so I jumped about thirty-five 
foot, screamed like a wildcat, and 'creased ray 
verlocity at a monstrous rate. Jist then I 
begun to feel my skin split, and, thinks I, 
it's no use to run out'n my skin, like I have 
out'n my linnen, as huming skin are scarce, 
so I tuck in a leetle. 

"But by this time I'd run clean beyant 
my house, right smack through my yard, 
scaring Molly and the childering, dogs, cats, 
chickens — uvry thing — half to death. But, 
you see, I got shet uv my inimy, the sar- 
punt, fur it had respect fur my house, ef it 
hadn't fur my face and eyes in the woods. 
I puffed, and blowed, and sweated 'bout half 
an hour afore I had wind to tell Molly and 
the childering what were the matter. 

"Poor old Bucksmasher staid several 



UNCLE DAVY LANE. 55 

days in the woods afore I could have the 
pluck to go arter him." 

When Uncle Davy told one snake story, 
he must needs exhaust his stock, big and 
little. After breathing a little from telling 
his coachwhip story, which always excited 
him, he would introduce and tell the story 
of his adventure with 

THE HORN-SNAKE. 

"Fur some time arter I were chased by 
that sassy coachwhip, I were desput Yraid 
uv snakes. My har would stand on eend, 
stiff as hog's bristles, at the noise uv uvry 
lizzard that ran through the leaves, and my 
flesh would jerk like a dead beef's. 

"But at last I ventured to go into the 
face uv the Kound Peak one day a-huntin\ 
I were skinnin'' my eyes fur old bucks, with 
my head up, not thinkin' about sarpunts, 
when, by Zucks! I cum right plum upon 
one uv the curiousest snakes I uver seen in 
all my borned days. • 

"Fur a spell I were spellbound in three 
foot uv it. There it lay on the side uv a 



56 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

steep presserpis, at full length, ten foot long, 
its tail strait out, right up the presserpis, 
head big as a sasser, right toards me, eyes 
red as forked lightnin', lickin' out his forked 
tongue, and I could no more move than the 
Ball Rock on Fisher's Peak. But when I 
seen the stinger in his tail, six inches long 
and sharp as a needle, stickin"* out like a 
cock's spur, I thought I'd a drapped in my 
tracks. I'd ruther a had uvry coachwhip 
on Round Hill arter me en full chase than 
to a bin in that drefful siteation. 

"Thar I stood, petterfied with relarm — 
couldn't budge a peg — couldn't even take old 
Bucksmasher off uv my shoulder to shoot 
the infarnul thing. Nyther uv us moved 
nor bolted 'ur eyes fur fifteen minits. 

"At last, as good luck would have it, a 
rabbit run close by, and the snake turned its 
eyes to look what it were, and that broke 
the charm, and I jumped forty foot down the 
mounting, and dashed behind a big white oak 
five foot in diamatur. The snake he cotched 
the 'eend uv his tail in his mouth, he did, 
and come rollin' down the mounting arter 
me jist like a hoop, and jist as I landed be- 



UNCLE DAVY LANE. 57 

hind the tree he struck t'other side with his 
stinger, and stuv it up, clean to his tail, 
smack in the tree. He were fast. 

"Of all the hissin' and bio win' that uver 
you hearn sense you seen daylight, it tuck 
the lead. Ef there'd a bin forty-nine forges 
all a-blowin' at once, it couldn't a beat it. 
He rared and charged, lapped round the tree, 
spread his mouf and grinned at me orful, 
puked and spit quarts an' quarts of green pi- 
sen at me, an' made the ar stink with his nas- 
ty breath. 

"I seen thar were no time to lose; I 
cotched up old Bucksmasher from whar I'd 
dashed him down, and tried to shoot the 
tarnil thing; but he kep' sich a movin' 
about and sich a splutteration that I couldn't 
git a bead at his head, for I know'd it warn't 
wuth while to shoot him any whar else. So 
I kep' my distunce tell he wore hisself out, 
then I put a ball right between his eyes, and 
he gin up the ghost. 

"Soon as he were dead I happened to 

look up inter the tree, and what do you 

think ? Why, sir, it were dead as a herrin' ; 

all the leaves was wilted like a fire had gone 

through its branches. 

C 2 



58 FISHEK'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

"I left the old feller with his stinger in 
the tree, thinkin' it were the best place fur 
him, and moseyed home, 'tarmined not to go 
out agin soon. 

"Now folks may talk as they please 'bout 
there bein' no sich things as horn-snakes, 
but what I've seen I've seen, and what I've 
jist norated is true as the third uv Mathy. 

" I mout add that I passed that tree three 
weeks arterwards, and the leaves and the 
whole tree was dead as a door-nail. ' 

Uncle Davy's mind was trained in a sort 
of horse-mill track, and would pass from one 
story to another with great naturalness and 
ease. No sooner was he done with the horn- 
snake rencounter, after giving you time to use 
some word of astonishment, note of exclama- 
tion — some sign of approbation or disappro- 
bation, it made but little odds which — he 
would commence the story of 

THE RATTLESNAKE BITE. 

"I thort my sarpunt difficulties was sar- 
tinly ended arter that desput horn-snake 
scrape ; but hush, honey ! they'd jist begun. 



UNCLE DAVY LANE. 59 

T'other two was jist little frightnin's ; this 
that I'm a-gwine to narrate was a sure- 
enough bite. He waded inter me far enufF. 
It happened arter this fashion : 

" I knowed whar thar was a mighty nice 
blackberry patch, 'bout a mile from home. 
I 'tarmined to have a bait out'n 'um, and 
some on 'um for Molly to make a pie out'n, 
fur I'm mighty fond uv blackberry pies — 
nothin' nicer, 'ceptin' a raal North Carolina 
puddin'. So off I piked to the old field 
whar they was. I didn't 'spect to see any 
old bucks to smash, so I didn't take old 
Bucksmasher with me that time, which I 
nairly always done, nur did I — lack-a-day ! — 
know what were to befall me that drefful, 
drefful day. 

"I 'riv on the spot in the cool uv the 
evenin', which it were mighty hot weather, 
waded into 'um without ceremony ur inter- 
duction, and eat a bushel on 'um afore I 
picked any fur the family. Last I seen a 
monstrous big brier full uv great big 'uns, 
big as hen's eggs. I were so taken with 'um, 
with my head as high as ef I was looking at 
the stars, I went up, and, says I to myself. 



00 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES, 

' 111 soon hev my basket full uv these mas- 
ter fellers ; they'll make bully pies, ' 

"I were pickin' away hard as I could 
clatter, barefooted as the day I were horned, 
when I felt suthin rakin' my feet wusser 
than sawbriers. But I picked on, and nuver 
looked down to see what were the matter, 
thinking all the time it were briers. But it 
got wusser and wusser till it were no use. 

1 looked down to see what were the matter, 
and what do you think? Why, thar were 
the biggest rattlesnake that uver were seen 
or hearn tell on — would a filled a washin''-tub 
to the brim. There he were peggin' away at 
my feet and legs like he were the hongriest 
critter on yeth. 

"I jist let all holts go, and begun to jump 
right up and down, full thirty foot high, fur 
a dozen times, I reckon, screamin' like an 
Injun, allers lightin' in an inch uv the same 
place. Ev'ry time I'd strike the yeth the 
cussed sarpunt would peg away at me. At 
last the spell were broke, and I moseyed 
home at an orful rate. It's no use to say 
how fast I did run, fur nobody would bleeve 
it, but I can say in truth, the runnin' from 



UNCLE DAVY LANE. (Jl 

the coachwhip warn't a primin"' to it. No, 
sir! 

"Now I'd hearn that sweet milk were a 
mighty remedy fur snake-bites, and, as good 
luck would have it, Molly and the childer- 
ing had jist got home from the cuppen* with 
the milk of seven master cows to give milk, 
and I, without sayin' a word, drunk down 
uvry drap uv it. They looked mighty curi- 
ous at me. Soon I got monstrous sick, and 
commenced puking at an orful rate. Up 
come milk and blackberries, all mixed up 
together, makin' a relarmin' mess to the fam- 
ily. They begun to beller and squall like 
ten thousand Injuns were arter 'um and 
skelpin' on 'um, and me so sick I couldn't 
say a word. I thort in my soul I should 
puke up the bottoms of my feet. No poor 
little mangy pig uver hove and set at a 'ta- 
ter-hill wusser nur I did. When I'd hulled 
out uvry thing innardly, I run to the whis- 
ky-kag, snatched it up, and landed at least 
two gallons down me. This were the king 
V cure-all. I went to sleep in less than no 

time, nuver said a word to any on 'um, and 

* Cow-pen. 



(52 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

waked up next mornin' ready fur breakfust, 
and eat more'n common, seein' I Avere tollu- 
ble empty."" 

Uncle Davy has one more "sarpunt sto- 
ry," which I will not let him tell now, but 
will reserve it for his last story. I will now 
give the reader, for the sake of variety, some 
of his hunting feats and stories, which will 
show him to have been a hero in that an- 
cient and honorable occupation. 

We have it from ancient and the best au- 
thority that "Nimrod was a mighty hunter 
before the Lord." Uncle Davy was a sec- 
ond Nimrod at least. To allow Uncle Davy 
to decide the question, the Eastern hunter, 
Nimrod, who has been deified as Hercules 
for his wondrous feats, has been immeasura- 
bly eclipsed by the Western hunter, the 
Fisher's River Davy Lane. Hercules hunt- 
ed with a club ; Uncle Davy with old Buck- 
smasher. Hercules was doomed to hunt 
and perform his feats ; Uncle Davy did his 
without compulsion. Poets and historians 
have sung and told the stories of Hercules ; 
Uncle Davy tells his oAvn stories. A fruit- 



^ UNCLE DAVY LANE. g3 

ful imagination could run the analogy end- 
lessly ; but I shut down upon it. 

I shall not record a tithe of the hunting 
stories of my Western Hercules, for they 
would make a ponderous volume. Only a 
few samples of the many shall be given ; 
and I here take occasion to express the sin- 
cere hope that my countrymen will never re- 
turn to such a state of barbarism as to deify 
our Fisher's Hiver hero, as the ancients did 
Hercules, and make for him a mythology 
out of these imperfect records ; for I now 
testify to all coming generations that Uncle 
Davy Lane was but a mortal man, and has 
been gathered to his fathers for several years. 
But excuse this digression : my plea is, The 
importance of the subject demanded it. 

I will give but s^feiv of my hero's stories, 
and will begin, without being choice, with 

THE FAST-EUNNING' BUCK. 

"Now I'd smashed up so many master 
old bucks 'bout Fisher's Gap, Blaze Spur, 
Flour Gap, clean round to Ward's Gap,* I 
'eluded they mout be gittin' scass, and I'd 

* Different crossing-places of the Blue Ridge. 



64 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

let 'um rest a spell, and try my luck in oth- 
er woods; so I toddled off to the Sugar 
Loaf.* 

"Now I know'd it were the time uv year 
fur old bucks to be hard nin' thar horns, so 
I tuck the sunny side uv the Sugar Loaf. I 
kep' my eyes skinned all the way up, but 
nuver seen any thing tell I got nairly to the 
top, when up jumped one uv the poxtakedest 
biggest old bucks you uver seen. He dash- 
ed round the mounting faster nur a shootin' 
star ur lightnin'. But, howsomever, I blazed 
away at him, but he were goin** so fast round 
the Loaf, and the bullet goin' strait forrud, 
I missed him. Ev'ry day fur a week I went 
to that spot, allers jumped him up in ten 
steps uv the same place, would fire away, 
but allers missed him, as jist norated. 

"I felt that my credit as a marksman, and 
uv old Bucksmasher, was gittin' mighty un- 
der repair. I didn't like to be outgineraled 
in any sich a way by any sich a critter. 
I could smash bucks anywhar and any 
time, but that sassy rascal, I couldn't tech a 

* A lofty peak of the Blue Ridge, running up in a beautiful 
conical form, resembling a sugar-loaf. 




BENDINti mjC'KBMABUEU. 



UNCLE DAVY LANE. 



har on him. He were a perfect dar-devil. 
One whole night I didn't sleep a Avink — 
didn't bolt my eyes — fixin' up my plan. 
Next mornin' I went right smack inter my 
blacksmith shop, tuck my hammer, and bent 
old Bucksmasher jist to suit the mounting, so 
that when the pesky old buck started round 
the mounting the bullet mout take the twist 
with him, and thus have a far shake in the 
race. 

"I loadened up, and moseyed off to try 
the 'speriment. I Vuv at the spot, and up 
he jumped, hoisted his tail like a kite, kicked 
up his heels in a banterin' manner, fur he'd 
outdone me so often he'd got raal sassy. I 
lammed away at him, and away he went 
round the mounting, and the bullet arter 
him — so good a man, and so good a boy. I 
stood chock still. Presently round they 
come like a streak uv sunshine, both buck 
and bullit, bullit singin' out, 'Whar is it? 
whar is it T ' Go it, my fellers, ' says I, and 
away they went round the Loaf like a Blue 
Bidge storm. Afore you could crack yer 
finger they was around agin, bucklety-whet. 
Jist as they got agin me, bullit throwed him. 



68 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

"I throwed down old Bucksmasher, out 
with my butcher-knife, jerked off rny shot-bag 
and hung it on the horn uv one uv the purtiest 
things you uver seen. I thort I'd look at it 
better when I stuck my buck. I knifed him 
monstrous quick, and turned round to look at 
the curious thing I'd hung my shot-bag on, 
and it were gone most outn sight. I soon 
seen it were the moon passin' along, and I'd 
hung my shot-bag on the corner uv it. I 
hated mightily to lose it, fur it had all my 
ammernition in it, and too 'bout a pound uv 
Thompson's powder.* 

But I shouldered my old buck, moseyed 
home, skinned and weighed him, and he 
weighed 150 pounds clean weight. I slep' 
sound that night, fur I'd gained the victory. 
I went next day to look fur the moon, and 
to git my shot-bag, pervided it hadn't spilt it 
off in moseyin' so fast. Sure 'nuff, it come 
mosey in' along next day, jist at the same 
time o' day, with my shot-bag on its horn. 
I snatched it off, and told it to mosey on 
'bout its business. 

* A favorite powder with hunters in that S3ction, made by 
a man named John Thompson. I have no doubt of its being 
the best powder in the world. 



UNCLE DAVY LANE. QQ 

"Now thar's some things 111 describe the 
best I can, and I'm a tolluble hand at it, 
though I say it ; but I nuver will tell a hu- 
man critter how that moon looked. But 
111 say this much : all that talk of 'stroni- 
my and lossify 'bout the moon are nonsense ; 
that's what I Tcnoiv. They can't fool this old 
'coon, fur what I knoAv I know — what I've 
seen I've seen." 

After a lazy laugh, in which he cared not 
whether you engaged or not— at least his 
looks would so indicate — Uncle Davy would 
straighten himself, fetch a long breath, charge 
his mouth with a fresh chew of tobacco, and 
would proceed to tell of his 

RIDE IN THE PEACH-TREE. 

" Now when I got my shot-bag off uv the 
moon, I lost no time, which I'd lost a great 
deal arter that old buck, as jist riorated. I 
moseyed home in a hurry, straightened old 
Bucksmasher, and piked off to Skull Camp* 

* A spur of the Blue Ridge, at the foot of which one or two 
human skeletons were found at the first settling of the country, 
where there were signs of an old hunters' camp ; hence the 
name of the mountain. 



70 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

to smash up a few old bucks on that grit. 
Soon as I landed I seen 'bout a dozen old 
bucks and one old doe. I planted myself, 
fur they was comm' right smack to''ads me, 
and I waited tell they got in shootin' range, 
as it were. I knowed ef I smashed Mrs. 
Doe fust I'd be right apt to smash all the 
Mr. Bucks. That's the way with all crea- 
tion — the males allers a-traipsin' arter the 
females. 

" So I lammed away at her, fetched her 
to the yeth, and the bucks scampered off. 
Agin I got loadened up they come back to 
the doe, smellin"' round, and I blazed away 
agin, and tripped up the heels uv one uv 
'um. They'd run off a little ways uvry time, 
but agin I'd load up thar'd allers be one 
ready to be smashed, and I jist kep' smashin' 
away tell there were but one left, and he 
were a whopper. 

"I felt in my shot-bag, and, pox take the 
luck ! there warn't a bullit in it — nothin' 
but a peach-stone. I crammed it down, 
thort I'd salute him wdth that, and blazed 
away, aimin' to hit him right behind the 
wethers, and, by golly ! ef he didn't slap 



UNCLE DAVY LANE. 7]^ 

down his tail and outrun creation, and give 
it two in the game. I run up, out with my 
butcher-knife, stuck uvry one on 'um afore 
you could cry 'cavy. And sich a pile on 
'um, all lyin' cross and pile, you nuver seen 
in yer horned days. 

"I moseyed home in a turkey-trot, got 
Jim and Sanders and the little waggin, went 
arter 'um, and, I tell you, we had nice livin' 
fur a fortnight. Some o' the old bucks 
would a cut four inches clare fat on the 
rump. Molly didn't hev to use any hog fat 
nur fry no bacon with 'um. We sopped 
both sides uv ur bread, and greased ur 
mouths from ear to ear. It made the chil- 
dering as sassy as it does a sea-board feller 
when he gits his belly full uv herrin'. Thar 
was skins plenty to make me and all the 
boys britches, and to buy ammernition to 
keep old Bucksmasher a-talkin' fur a long 
time, fur he's a mighty gabby old critter to 
varmunts uv uvry kind, well as to old bucks, 
he is. 

"Arter makin a desput smash among old 
bucks uvry whar else fur three very long 
years, I thort I'd try my luck in Skull Camp 



72 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

agin. I took plenty uv ammernition with 
me this time — didn't care about shootin' 
peach-stones any more out'n old Bucksmash- 
er — and piked off full tilt. 

"Soon as I got on good hunting yeth, I 
seen right by the side uv a clift uv rocks (I 
were on the upper side uv the clift) a fine 
young peach-tree, full uv master plum peach- 
es. I were monstrous hongry and dry, and 
thanked my stars fur the good luck. I sot 
down old Bucksmasher, stepped from the top 
uv the clift inter the peach-tree — nuver look- 
ed down to see whar it were growin' — jerked 
out old Butch, and went to eatin' riproarin' 
fashion. 

"I hadn't gulluped down more'n fifty 
master peaches afore, by golly! the tree 
started off, with me in it, faster nur you 
uver seen a scared wolf run. When it had 
run a mile ur so, I looked down to see what 
it mout mean. And what do you think? 
True as preaching the peach-tree was grow- 
in' out'n an old buck, right behind his 
shoulders. 

"I thort my time had come, for on he 
jnoseyed over logs, rocks, clifts, and all sorts 



UNCLE DAVY LANE. 73 

o' things, and me up in the tree. He went 
so fast, he did, that he split the wind, and 
made it roar in my head like a harricane. I 
tried to pray, but soon found I had no breath 
to spar in that way, fur he went so orful fast 
that my wind was sometimes clean gone. 
He run in that fashion fur fifteen mile, gin 
out, stopped to rest, when I got out'n my 
fast-runnin' stage mighty soon, and glad o' 
the chance. 

"I left him pantin' away like he were 
mighty short o' wind, returned thanks fur 
once, tuck my foot in my hand, and walked 
all the way back to old Bucksmasher. I 
seen more old bucks on my way than I uver 
seen in the same length uv time in all my 
borned days. They knowed jist as well as I 
did that I had nothin' to smash 'um with. 
Thar they was a-kickin' up thar heels and 
snortin' at me fur fifteen long miles — ^miles 
measured with a 'coon-skin, and the tail 
throwed in fur good measure, fur sure. It 
were a mighty trial, but I grinned and en- 
dured it. I piked on and landed at the 
place whar I started in my peach-tree stage, 

found old Bucksmasher, shouldered him, and 
D 



74 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

moseyed fur home, with my feathers cut, fur 
I'd made a water haul that time, fur sure and 
sartin. " 

"To — be — shore, Mr. Lanef said old Mr. 
Wilmoth, a good, credulous old man ; " ef I 
didn't know you to be a man of truth, I 
couldn't believe you. How do you think 
that peach-tree come up in the back of that 
deer ?" 

"Bless you, man ! it was from the peach- 
stone I shot in his back, as jist norated — 
nothin' plainer." 

Our hero loved to tell of his adventures 
with other "villinus varmunts" as well as 
with "old bucks." We will now hear him 
"let off" with his marvelous adventure with 
that ever-dreaded and feared monster, 

THE PANTHER. 

"Arter this dreadful relarm jist norated, 
I thort I'd not go inter the Skull Camp 
Mountings agin soon, so I sot my compass fur 
Fisher's Peak to try my luck. I crossed it 
at the Bald Rock,* and went back uv it a 

* Near the top of Fisher's Peak, on the south side, there is a 
large rock, about an acre in size, calle 1 the " Bald Rock." 



UNCLE DAVY LANE. 75 

piece, skinnin' my eyes all the time fur old 
bucks, when I come up chug upon one, dead 
as a mittin — -jist killed. Thar warn't the 
sign uv a bullit on it; it were desputly 
scratched up and raked hither and thither, 
and the yeth and leaves was tore up all 
round. Says I, '111 skin you, any how, 
and make suthin out'n your hide.' 

"I tuck oiF his jacket quick, hung it up, 
piked on furder, and found another jist in 
the same fix. Says I, ' This is a cheap way 
of gittin' old bucks' skins, fur sure. No 
wastin' ammernition here, for Thompson's 
powder and Pearce's lead* is mighty pre- 
cious.' So I tuck oif his clothin' in three 
shakes of a sheep's tail. 

"On I moseyed tell I ondressed eight 
master bucks in the same way, tell I were in 
a lather uv sweat, fur it was tolluble hot. 
When I come to the ninth, the sign was 
fresher and fresher; it was hardly done 
kickin'. I ondressed him too, nuver think- 
in' fur a minit what it were a-smashin' up 
old bucks in that drefful way. 

* Hunters in that section obtained their lead at Pearce's 
lead mines, Poplar Camp Mountain, Wythe County, Virginia. 



76 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

" Jist as I riz up from skinnin'* him, I 
looked up in a post-oak-tree right dab over 
me, and there sot the biggest painter that uver 
walked the Blue Kidge, fur sure. Thar he 
sot on a limb, his eyes shinin' away like new 
money, slappin' his tail jist like a cat gwine 
to jump on a rat. I like to a sunk in my 
tracks. Poor, helpless critter I was. I thort 
about prayin', but I seen there were no time 
fur that ; so I kep^ my eyes on him, stepped 
four ur five steps backwards to'ads where 
I'd sot old Bucksmasher, thinkin' thar mout 
be more vartue in powder and lead than in 
prayers jist then. I cocked him, whipped 
him up to the side uv my face, drawed a 
bead right between the eyes, let him hev it 
jist as he commenced springin' on me. He 
fell at my feet, and died monstrous hard, 
like he had a thousand lives, slappin' his 
tail on the ground ; you mout a hearn him 
three hundred and fifty yards. 

"Thinkin' there mout be some more uv 
the same stock in them thar woods, I nuver 
tuck time to ondress him, which his skin 
would a bin wuth right smart uv ammerni- 
tion. I gathered up my skins, and moseyed 
fur home." 



UNCLE DAVY LANE. 77 

Uncle Davy must have had the organ of 
" destructiveness" pretty fully developed, 
for fowls, as well as "animils" and "sar- 
punts," were "smashed up" by him, as may 
be gathered from 

THE TURKEY HUNT. 

"Now I got mighty tired livin' on old 
buck meat — nairly as sick uv it as the chil- 
lun of Israel was in the willerness livin*' on 
partridges and manna, which my teeth was 
most wore down to the gums eatin' it ; so I 
thort I'd sweeten my mouf a little on turkey 
meat. So I piked off to Nettle's Knob,* 
knowin' as how thar was a slambangin"' 
chance uv 'um in that mounting. I seen 
hundereds uv old bucks as I moseyed on, 
but, pshaAv ! I told uvry rascal on 'um to 
git out'n the way, fur when I went a-turkey- 
in' I didn't go a-buckin' ; so they didn't 
tempt me any more — fur sure they didn't. 

"Now soon as I got nairly to the top uv 
the knob, on the south side, I seen a master 

* A beautiful knob near the foot of the Blue Ridge, not far ^ 
from the " Flour Gap," now " Pipher's Gap." The line be- / 
tween Virginia and North Carolina crossed it. !> 



78 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

gang uv turkeys feedin' along on beggar's 
lice, etc., mighty busy, comin' right to'ads 
me. I hid myself right behind an old chest- 
nut log, sly as a wild-cat. Thar was 'bout 
sixty on 'um — a right nice gang. I soon 
seen which were the grandmamma uv the 
whole possercomitattus, and I detarmined to 
smash her fust. I lammed away, and down 
she fell to flutterin', and her feet clatterin' 
away like a pack uv fool boys and gals 
a-dancin\ The childering and grandchilder- 
ing all run up to see what were the matter, 
hollerin' loud as they could, most splittin' 
their throats, ' coot ! coot ! coot ! ' 

"Afore she was done a-flutterin', I lam- 
med down another old hen ; the rest run up, 
and the same coot ! coot ! tuck place. I kep' 
lammin' 'um down fast as I could, which 
was mighty fast, till the whole woods was 
alive with flutterin' and hollerin' coot ! coot ! 
Soon as I got about forty on 'um, I quit 
burnin' powder ; besides, old Bucksmasher 
had got so hot I were afraid to put powder 
down him. I went up to whar they was, 
and, my stars ! what a pile on 'um ! I could 
a killed the last one on 'um, fur I had to 



UNCLE DAVY LANE. 79 

shoo 'um off. I went home fur the boys 
and the little waggin, and for sure we had 
good livin' fur a week on baked and hashed 
turkey, which isn't bad eatin' any time, it 
am t. 

The transition from one fowl story to an- 
other was quite easy and natural to Uncle 
Davy. Thus he passed with great facility 
from the "turkey smashin' " to 

THE PIGEON-KOOST. 

' ' Now, do ye see, a man will git tired out 
on one kind o' meat, I don't care a drot what 
it is ('ceptin' Johnson Snow, who nuver gits 
tired o' hog's guliicks and turnup greens). 
So I got tireder of them thar turkeys, which 
thar was so many, than I uver did uv old 
buck meat. I hearn uv a mighty pigeon- 
roost down in the Little Mountings,* so I 
'tarmined to make a smash uv some uv 'um, 
to hev a variety uv all sorts o' meat. I had 
got to turnin' up my nose whenuver Molly 
sot turkey on the table, which I hated to do, 
fur she's a mighty kind critter. 

* A range of mountains by that name, an offshoot from the 
Blue Ridge, in the " Hollows of the Yadkin." 



80 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

" So I jist fixed up old Tower,* and filled 
my sliot-bag chug full uv drap-sliot, mounted 
old Nip,f and moseyed off fur the pigeon- 
roost. I 'ruv thar 'bout two hours by the 
sun, and frum that blessed hour till chock 
dark the heavens was dark with 'um comin' 
inter the roost. It is unconceivable to tell 
the number on ""um, which it were so great. 
Bein' a man that has a character fur truth, I 
won't say how many there was. Thar was 
a mighty heap uv saplins fur 'um to roost 
in, which they would allers light on the big- 
gest trees fust, then pitch down on the little 
uns ter roost. 

"Now jist at dark I thort I'd commence 
smashin' 'um ; so I hitched old Nip to the 
limb uv a tree with a monstrous strong bri- 
dle — a good hitchin' j)lace, I thort. I com- 
menced blazin' away at the pigeons like thun- 
der and lightnin' ; which they'd light on big 
trees thick as bees, bend the trees to the yeth 
like they'd been lead. Uvry pop I'd spill 
about a pint uv drap-shot at 'um, throwed 
at 'um by Thompson's powder, which made 

* The name of his musket. 
t The name of his horse. 




THE PKJKON-ROORT. 



UNCLE DAVY LANE. §3 

a drefful smash among 'um. By hokey ! I 
shot so fast, and so long, and so often, I het 
old Tower so hot that I shot six inches off 
uv the muzzle uv the old slut. I seen it 
were no use to shoot the old critter clean 
away, which I mout have some use fur agin ; 
so I jist quit burnin' powder and flingin"' 
shot arter I'd killed 'bout a thousand on 
'um, fur sure. 

"Arter I'd picked up as many on 'um 
as my wallets would hold, I looked fur old 
Nip right smack whar I'd hitched him, but 
he were, like King Saul's asses, nowhar to 
be found. I looked a consid'able spell next 
to the yeth, but, bless you, honey ! I mout 
as well a sarched fur a needle in a haystack. 
At last I looked up inter a tree 'bout forty 
foot high, and thar he were swingin' to a 
limb, danglin' 'bout 'tween the heavens and 
the yeth like a rabbit on a snare-pole. I 
could hardly keep from burstin' open laugh- 
in' at the odd fix the old critter were in. 
The way he whickered were a fact, when I 
spoke to him — wusser nur ef I'd a had a 
stack uv fodder fur him ur a corn-crib to put 
him in." 



84 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

"How come him up thar, Uncle Davy?'' 
said Bill Holder, a great quiz. 

"Why, I hitched him to the limb uv a big 
tree bent to the yeth with pigeons, you num- 
skull, and when they riz the tree went up, 
and old Nip with it, fur sure." 

"But how did you get him down?'' said 
Bill, again. 

"That's nuther here nor thar; I got him 
down, and that's 'nuff fur sich pukes as you 
ter know. Soon as I got him down I piked 
fur home with my pigeons, and we made 
uvry pan and pot stink with 'um fur one 
whet, and they made us all as sassy as a Tar 
River feller when he gits his belly full uv 
fresh herrin'." 

BIG PEACH-EATING. 

"These is the oncommonest biggest plum 
peaches I uver seen sense my peepers looked 
on daylight, " said Uncle Frost Snow, in the 
presence of Uncle Davy Lane, while a party 
were making a desperate havoc of some very 
fine peaches. "They is 'most as good as I 
use' to eat in ole Albermarle, Fudginny. 
While I lived thar I eat a bushel on jist sich 



UNCLE DAVY LANE. 85 

peaches at one "eatin'." This was said to 
draw out a story from our hero. Uncle 
Frost was good at that. 

"Pshaw! fidgittyfudge ! " said Uncle 
Davy ; "that's nothin' to a bait I once tuck 
in ole Pitsulvany, Virginny. I and Uncle 
John Lane went into his orchard one day, 
and thar was tAvo grate big plum peach-trees 
so full that the limbs lay on the ground all 
round. 

"'Dave,' said Uncle John, 'do ye see 
them big peaches thar? I can beat you 
eatin' 'um so fur that you won't know yer- 
self.' 

•' 'Not so fast. Uncle John,' says I. 
' I'll bet you ten buckskins, ' says he. 

•' 'Done, by Jeeminny!' says I. 

•' 'Take yer choice uv the trees,' says he. 
Here's at you ! this one, ' says I. 

"And at it we went, like Sampson killin' 
the Philistines, with our butcher-knives, 
commencin' at 'bout twelve ur clock, and 
moseyed into 'um till 'most night. 

" 'How do ye come on, Dave?' said Un- 
cle John. 

"'Fust-rate,' says I — 'jist gittin' my 



36 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

hand in. How do you navigate, Uncle 
Jolin?' says I. 

" 'I gin up,' says he. 'My craw's full,' 
says he. 

"I looked, and, Jehu Nimshi! ef we 
hadn't eat till all the limbs on his tree had 
riz from the yeth two foot, and mine had riz 
three foot. The peach-stones lay in two 
piles, and they looked fur all the world like 
two Injun mounds — mine a nation sight the 
biggest. " 

"Haw! haw! haw!" laughed Uncle 
Frost ; " that takes the rag off uv the bush. " 

SOME APPLE-EATING. 

"I'm danged," said Dick Snow, "ef I 
can't beat any man in this crowd eatin' ap- 
ples." 

"How many can you eat, yearlin'?" said 
Uncle Davy. "I'm a snorter in that line, 
sartin. " 

"Don't know adzackly; a half a bushel, 
I s'pose, " said Dick. 

"Bah! that's nothin'. No more'n a bar 
to an elephant. That same Uncle John 
Lane which I won the buckskins from, eat- 



UNCLE DAVY LANE. 87 

in' peaches, not satisfied with one lickin\ tuck 
me into his apple orchard, and, ' Dave, ' says 
he, ' do you see yon two big leathercoat ap- 
ple-trees T 

" ' Yes, ' says I ; ' and what uv that T 

" 'You see,' says he, 'they're mighty full, 
with thar limbs lyin' on the yeth T says he. 

" 'Yes,' says I; 'and what does all that 
signify ? Don't be beatin' the bush so long. 
Come out! Be a man, and tell me what 
you're arter,' says I. 

'"I want to win them thar buckskins back 
agin,' says Uncle John. 

" ' Can't do it,' says I. 

" 'Which tree will you take?' says he. 

" 'This bully un,' says I. 

" ' Bad choice, ' says he ; ' but I'll beat you 
the easier,' says he. 

"So we moseyed into 'um yearly in the 
mornin', and 'bout twelve o'clock he called 
fur the calf-rope. I'd beat^him all holler. 
Uncle John were swelled out like a hoss 
with the colic, while I looked as trim as a 
grayhound. We looked, and the limbs uv 
my tree had riz from the yeth full four foot, 
and his'n three foot. Thar was apple-peel- 



33 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

in's and cores enough under them thar trees 
to a fed five dozen hogs, sartin." 

"I'm danged," said Dick Snow, "ef that 
don't take the huckleberry off of my 'sim- 
mon." 

THE TAPE-WOEM. 

( Patent medicines go every where ; so do 
; the almanacs of the inventors of such medi- 
cines. Soon after Dr. Jayne commenced 
publishing his almanacs, one of them got 
into the Fisher's Kiver region. It was quite 
a wonder. It was as great a show as the 
elephant. Some one showed Uncle Davy 
the picture of the tape-worm, and read the 
account of it. He was determined not to be 
outdone, and held forth as follows : 

"Fiddlesticks and Irish 'taters ! For to 
think that a man of larnin', like Dr. Jaynes, 
should prent sich a little flea-bitten story as 
that! He sartinly nuver seen any crape- 
wurrums." 

" Tcq^e-tvorms, Uncle Davy," said one. 
"Nuver mind, and save your breath," 
said he, very emphatically ; "I know what 
I'm explanigatin' about. I say Dr. Jaynes 



UNCLE DAVY LANE. 89 

were mighty pushed fur a wurrum story to 
prent sich a little baby story as that you 
have jist norated frum his book. If he'd a 
called on me, I'd a gi'n him one vv^hat was 
wuth prentin'." 

"Let's have it, Uncle Davy," said several 
voices. 

"I'm a great mind not to tell it here by 
the side uv this poor little thing uv Dr. 
Jayneses. It makes me rantankerous mad 
to hear sich little stuff, it does. But here's 
at you, as you look like you'd die ef yoq 
don't hear it. 

"Where I cum from, in ole Pitsulvany, 
Virginny, thar lived a strange-lookin' critter 
by the name uv Sallie Pettigrew. I sha'n't 
try to describe her, for it is onpossible. She 
were a sight, sure. She looked more like a ( 
bar'l on stilts than any thing I can think on. / 
She could eat as much meat sometimes as ^ 
five dogs, and soon arter eatin' it could drink S 
as much water as a thirsty yoke uv oxen, 
sartin'. You needn't be winkin' and blink- 
in' thar ; truth, uvry word uv it. She was 
monstrous fond uv fish, which it was on- 
possible almost to git anuff fur her to make 



90 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

a meal on. And then, arter eatin' the fish, 
she would drink galluns upon galluns uv 
water. The people got mighty tired uv her 
eatin' and drinkin' so much, and thort suthin 
must be the matter. They bought a whole 
barl uv salt herrin's ; they cooked 'um, and 
she gulluped down the last one uv 'um. 
They tied her fast, so that she couldn't git 
to water. She hollered and bawled fur wa- 
ter, and seemed like gwine inter fits. They 
brought a bowl uv water, and placed it close 
to her mouth, not close enough fur her to 
drink, though. They belt it thar fur some 
time ; at last they seed suthin poke its head 
out'n her mouth, tryin' to drink. One uv 
'um run and got the shoe-pinchers and nab- 
bed it by the head, and commenced drawin' 
it out. He drawed and drawed, wusser nur 
a man drawin' jaw teeth, till it looked like 
he would nuver git done drawing the critter 
out. At last he got done ; and sich a pile ! 
and sich a tape-wurrum! The poor 'oman 
fainted away, and we like to a nuver a fotch- 
ed her to. But when she did cum to, Jehu 
Nimshi! you mout a hearn her a shoutin' 
two miles and a half We detarmined to 



UNCLE DAVY LANE. 91 

measure tlie critter. We tuck it up, and tuck 
it out n doors, druv a nail through its head 
at the corner uv the house, then stretched it 
clean round the house where we started from, 
which the house was thirty foot long and 
eighteen foot wide, makin' the wurrum nine- 
ty foot long. I tell you, boys. Dr. Jayneses 
tape-wurrum were nothin' to it." 

"Deng it! we'll gin it up," said Dick 
Snow. 

"You mout as well," said Uncle Davy, 
"fur it were a whaler." 

I promised the reader one more hunting 
story from Uncle Davy. I will now give 
it, as it seems to have been the cause of his 
reformation, and with it I close the sketches 
of our hunting hero. Here it is : 

THE BUCK-HOENED SNAKE. 

" I piked out one day," said Uncle Davy, 
"in sarch uv old bucks, but they was mon- 
strous scace, and I couldn't find none. I 
got 'most home, and thort I hated to return 
havin' smashed nothin' — didn't like to be 
laughed at. Jist then an old sucklin' doe 



92 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

got right smack in my way. I leveled old 
Bucksmaslier, and down she fell. I tuck 
her home, and, meat being ruther scace, Ave 
eat her up monstrous quick. 

" I furgut to mention that it was on Sun- 
day I smashed that old doe. My feelings 
sorter hurt me fur killin' her on Sunday, 
and frum her young fawn too, poor critter ! 
So in two ur three days arter, I thort I'd go 
out and git the fawn. I made me a blate,* 
went out to the laurel and ivy thicket whar 
I'd killed the doe, blated, and the fawn an- 
swered me, fur it thought it was its mam- 
my, poor thing! I kep' blatin' away, and 
uvry time I'd blate it would answer me, but 
it cum to me mighty slow, sartin. I got 
onpatient, and moseyed a little to'ads it, and 
got on a log where I could see a leetle, which 
the laurel and ivy was monstrous thick. I 
blated agin, which it answered close by. I 
then streeched up my neck liken a scared 
turkey, lookin' 'mong the laurel and ivy, and 
what do you think I seen V 

* Hunters split a stick, put a leaf into it, and by blowing it 
can imitate the bleating of deer so as to deceive them. They 
call it a "blate." 



UNCLE DAVY LANE. 93 

"I can not imagine," said Taliaferro, to 
whom lie was relating this adventure. 

"Well, I'll tell you. Thar lay the big- 
gest, oncommonest black snake the Lord 
uver made, sartin — which he has made a 
many a one — full fifteen foot long, with a 
pair of rantankerous big buck's horns, big as 
antelope's horns. It fixed its tarnacious 
eyes on me, but afore it could get its spell 
on me I jumped off uv that log, and run so 
fast that I nuver hev nur nuver will tell any 
man — ^which it is onpossible to tell any man 
— ^how fast I did pike fur home. But sartin 
it is that the runnin' fi^om the coachwhip 
on Hound Hill were no more to it than the 
runnin' uv a snail to a streak uv li'ghtnin'." 

"What do you think it was?" inquired 
Taliaferro. 

"I jist think it were suthin' sent thar to 
warn me 'bout huntin' on Sundays. It 
Mated jist like a fawn, and I thort it were 
the fawn I were arter ; but, Jehu Nimshi ! 
it were no more a fawn than I am a fawn, 
sartin. But as sure as old Bucksmasher is 
made uv iron, and is the best gun in the 
world, I've nuver hunted on Sunday sense." 

s 



94 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 



v.— UNCLE FROST SNOW. 

The man who once saw "Uncle Frost 
Snow" would never forget him; and, of 
course, being raised under his eye, I can not 
forget his peculiar features and eccentric ac- 
tions. He was of small stature, with a tri- 
une countenance — the sad, the quizzical, and 
the cheerful, the cheerful preponderating — 
ever ready for a loud, hearty laugh. He 
would laugh all over — ^his countenance, eyes, 
mouth, and body. He was energetic and 
eccentric in all his movements. He was 
fond of the "tickler," but not to excess; 
hated a "feller what would git down dog 
drunk under yer foot on the yeth." 

He was raised in " Albermarle, Fudgin- 
ny," and didn't care "a durn whether he 
blonged to one on the fust famblys uv Fud- 
ginny ur not." He certainly came from a 
section where rustic literature had attained 
to perfection ; and he clung to the language 



UNCLE FROST SNOW. 95 

of his section and of his youth with great 
tenacity, as the following incident will show, 
which I record as a memento of my regard 
for his memory. 

Uncle Frost lived on a poor, broken piece 
of land, on which most men Avould have 
starved, but by uncommon energy and good 
farming he managed to live well. He rose 
early and worked late, obliged to do so or 
starve. 

He had a favorite negro boy named An- 
derson, who went to a neighbor's house one 
night, and did not get home next morning till 
a late hour. Uncle Frost was up early, and 
went out, nervously awaiting Anderson's ar- 
rival, jumping about like a mountain snow- 
bird, hitching up his "hipped britches" — 
being an old-fashioned man, he wouldn't 
wear "gallusses, " not he. ' ' Durned ef they'd 
strap thar backs in old Fudginny, nur I 
ain't a-gwine to do it nuther." Presently 
Anderson came, and what took place he re- 
ported to his neighbor and particular friend, 
Mrs. Easley, thus : 

"You see. Miss Yeasley, folks is gittin' 
too smart — too big fur thar britches. Larn- 



96 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

in' and big quality words is ruinin' on us 
fast. Even the niggers is a-ketchin' big 
quality words. My Anderson went down 
t'other night ter 'Squire Whitlock's to git a 
par o' britches cut out, and got home late, 
he did. Anderson's a good nigger, and I 
jest Avanted to skeer him. I runs up ter 
him with a bully hickory, lookin' bagonits 
at him, and, says I, ' Anderson ! whar you 
bin T says I. His eyes looked like a skeered 
buck rabbit. 

'"To Mr. Whitlock's,' says he. 

'"To Mr. Whitlock's!' says I; 'and 
what fur T says I. 

" 'To get a pair of pantaloons cut out,' 
says he, mighty qualityfied. 

" ' Pantaloons ! pantaloons ! ! ' says I ; 
'who larnt you to call 'um pantaloons?' 
says I. ' Gittin' above yer master ? Talk- 
in' like the Franklins and all the big quality 
folks, you lamper-jawed, cat-hamed puke,' 
says I. 'You nuver hearn yer master call 
'um any thing but britches, nur you sha'n't, ' 
says I. ' I'll larn you to puke up big qual- 
ity words, you varmunt, ' says I ; and I lar- 
ruped him well, I tell you. I 'clare. Miss 



UNCLE FROST SNOW. 97 

Yeasley, I wouldn't a tetched him ef he'd a 
said britches ; fur I'm 'tarmined my niggers 
sha'n't talk this big quality talk, nur shall 
my chillun talk it, ef I can help it ; but my 
son John, sense he married inter yer fambly, 
he's quit talkin' like his daddy — got to qual- 
ity in' uv it. I'll let that go, but my niggers 
sha'n't do it, Miss Yeasley. " 
E 



98 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 



VI.— DICK SNOW. 

Speaking of Uncle Frost Snow, the asso- 
ciation of ideas will naturally carry the mind 
to his family ; and of all the members of his 
family, which was quite numerous, I have 
the most vivid and distinct recollection of 
his son Dick. No wonder, when we were 
raised together, he being a few years my sen- 
ior. I shall not have occasion to ask the 
reader's pardon for giving my friend Dick 
Snow so much space in this work, for he 
will find him, upon farther acquaintance, an 
"original document" — will be pleased with 
him every way. I shall first give some orig- 
inal anecdotes illustrative of the animus of 
the man, and, secondly, relate his thrilling 
courtship. 

I have just stated that Dick Snow was a 
son of Uncle Frost Snow, and a favorite one 
too, for he inherited most -of the looks and 
eccentricities of his father ; and as to the 



DICK SNOW. 99 

vernacular of his father, no Roman Catholic 
ever stuck closer to his creed than Dick, be- 
sides a considerable addition from other 
sources. The fact is, Dick had a smattering 
of all the rustic literature of the land — a fair 
representative of Fisher's River literature, 
overdoing the thing a little, however. Un- 
cle Frost loved Dick much, "because he 
won't git above his daddy, and talks like 
they did in old Albermarle, Fudginny." 

As to size, Dick was a little above ordi- 
nary, but well made and finely proportioned, 
with muscles clearly and fully developed. 
He was a little stoop-shouldered, and moved 
quickly and with great ease. His face was 
quite paradoxical, wearing both a vinegar 
and pleasant appearance. His eyes were 
black, small, and restless, indicating quick 
perception, particularly of the ridiculous. 
His nose was well set, indicative of decision 
of character, of which he evidently had much. 
His chin testified to the same, and so did his 
lips. His person and countenance combined 
bespoke his honesty, frankness, bravery, de- 
cision, and mischievousness. 

But this must suffice for description — a 



IQO FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

poor one too. If the reader could see the 
man, he Avould agree with me. I will now 
give some 

CHAKACTERISTIC ANECDOTES. 

When Dick was married, he settled on a 
very poor farm, on which no other man 
could have lived. His wife Sallie in due 
time gave him a son, and as soon thereafter 
as things of the kind are ever done, she pre- 
sented him one night with two beautiful 
twin sons. In the morning, some time be- 
fore daylight, Dick was heard rattling his 
chains and gearing his horse. His attend- 
ant friends were surprised, and remon- 
strated. 

"Dick, where on earth are you going? 
What are you going to do V 

' ' I m g^vine to wurk — that's what. When 
the fambly is 'creasin' so fast, I must 'crease 
my wurk, by jingo ! " 

This was said, not by way of complaint, 
but from the promptings of his indomitable 
energy. 

People in that country, at the time of 



DICK SNOW. IQl 

which I speak, got nearly all their informa- 
tion by inquiry. They did not take the pa- 
pers ; the sound of the stage bugle never 
echoed through their hills and mountains. 
If a man went twenty miles from home, he 
might expect on his return to be quizzed not 
a little. Dick once went to Rockford, the 
seat of justice for Surry County, to court, 
when a certain "'Squire Byrd" was to be 
tried for murder. Expectation was on tip- 
toe. Dick returned, and was asked the news. 
He replied: 

"Thar warn't no trial; 'twas put off, an' 
'Squire :Byrd has gi'n siscurity for his ex- 
> spearunce at the next court, so they 'least 
mm. 

Dick had a pertinacious way of abbrevi- 
ating nearly all his words, even when he 
knew better. He was a man of fine sense 
and good judgment, but he wished to take 
"short cuts," and "talk jest like he'd bin 
larnt," and was too energetic to take time to 
pronounce whole words. Once he returned 
from court, and was giving his neighbors the 
news in the presence of his wife, who was a 



102 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES 

woman of good learning for that section, and 
said "sich an' sich" men were '•'■'turned to 
court." 

His wife was amused at him, and said, 
" Dick, why don't you call that word right?" 

' ' Well, ree-turned, then, ef you will have 
it the long way," replied Dick. "Some 
folks are allers gwine the long way, but that 
ain't me. I gits right inter it, like a hom- 
minny-bird (humming-bird) inter a tech-me- 
not flower. " 



I remember well the first time I ever 
heard of domestic cotton cloth. It was from 
my friend Dick Snow that I learned that 
there was such a thing. Dick had been to 
Wauo-h's store, in the "Hollows" of the 
Yadkin, and upon his return I inquired the 
news. 

"I'm danged ef thar ain't some uv the 
cheapestest mastiss cloth at Waugh's store 
on top of the yeth, by jingo ! " 

"What?" said I. 

"Mastiss cloth, dang it! on'y twenty-five 
cents a yard." 

I saw it was useless to press the question, 



DICK SNOW. 103 

as far as Dick was concerned, but I inquired 
of my father, and found it to be domestic 
cotton cloth. 



Not long after this, Dick came where I 
was at work. "Dick," said I, "how is 
your health V 

"Laus-a-day, I'm 'most dade." 

"Truly," said I, "your face is quite long. 
What is the matter V 

"I've got the wust discontary that uver a 
poor reflicted critter had. It's wearin' me 
out fast. I'm empty as a barl." 

' ' What is it ?" I inquired. 

"Discontary ! Dang it ! can't you hear ? 
I'll pick yer ears with a handspike d'rect- 



Dick was a good farmer, and was among 
the first to get any new plow that came 
along and promised to be useful. There 
came into the neighborhood a valuable plow 
called the Dagon Cooter. Dick, determined 
to have one, went to the blacksmith, Meredy 
Edmonds, and said, 

"Meredy, I'm come to git you to make 
me a bully plow." 



lOJ: FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

"What sort of a plowf asked the black- 
smith. 

"Dang it! I furgit the name, but I 
b'leeve it's Caten Dooden or Doodly Dagon. 
It makes no odds ; you know what's what — 
what I wants jest as well as I does." 



Dragoon bridle-bits used to be in fashion. 
Dick had never used a pair, but, having an 
unruly horse, he concluded he'd try him with 
a pair of dragoon bits ; but, not having a pair 
of his own, he went to a neighbor and in- 
quired, 

"I'm come to borryyer dagon bits." 

"What is it?" asked the neighbor. 

"Dagon bits! Cuss these hard names! 
My mouf was nuver made to 'nounce 'um. 
Ding such big quality words." 



Game of every kind was plentiful in that 
mountainous country, and sometimes hunters 
would descend from big game down to rab- 
bit hunting. Dr. K. Thompson and Dick 
took a rabbit hunt one day, and when the 
hunt was over the doctor proposed to divide 
the game with Dick, to which he responded 
emphatically, 



DICK SNOW. |^Q5 

"Don't want 'um. I doesn't like rabbit 
meat ; it tastes too clanged rabbity. " 



Dick was a man of respectability, and had 
a wife whom he and every body else consid- 
ered number one. The best of company, 
even the "quality," visited his house. The 
Misses Franklin, daughters of Meshech 
Franklin, "the Congressman," went to a 
Methodist quarterly meeting near Dick's 
residence, called on, and staid all night with 
him. Dick was unacquainted with "quality 
ways," and w^hen the ladies retired to bed 
up stairs, they bade the family "good-night." 
He didn't know what it meant, and it wor- 
ried him worse than the nightmare. At last 
he concluded it was some "rig" the young 
ladies were running on him, and he resolved 
to retrieve what he had lost, for he was a 
man who did not like to be outdone. So, 
early next morning, he rose, built his fire, 
and watched the stair-steps until he heard 
the ladies coming down. He then ran and 
hid himself near the foot of the stairway. 
As soon as they landed on the lower floor, 

Dick rushed out of his hiding-place, scaring 
E 2 



106 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

the misses not a little, and bawled out 
loudly, 

" Good-mornin"' at ye, ladies! I's fast 
anuff fur you this time. Now I'll quit ye, 
as we's even. You got me last night ; Ts 
got ye this mornin\'''' 



I have never seen a place yet where poli- 
tics had not reached. In that secluded spot 
where Dame Fashion has seldom found her 
way, or has -met with such a cold reception 
that she does not care to visit it, even there 
the demon Politics is open-mouthed. Dick 
was therefore compelled to take sides. He 
became a warm "Dimicrat- — a mortaUack- 
son man.*" 

During the Revolution there were many 
Tories in that region, and their descendants 
were derided and despised by the descend- 
ants of the Whigs. Dick entered the list in 
controversy with the grandson of a Tory, 

who was a Whig in politics. Sam J was 

a little too hard for Dick in discussion, and 
Dick turned upon him with a "jodarter," 
and smote him thus : 

" Sam, you's chock full uv yer grandaddyls 




• GOOT)-MORNIN', LABIES.' 



DICK SNOW. log 

blood. You's got his old rade coat he wore 
in the Revolution now put away in yer chist. 
Next thing youll be wearin' on it ; the first 
good chance you git, youll be rippin', an' 
shinin', an' sailin' about in it. I m danged 
ef I don't gin you a dollar to see it any day." 



Speaking of politics reminds me of one 
more anecdote connected therewith. It was 
customary for "candidites" in olden times 
to treat with liquor ; but after a while the 
temperance* reformation reached Fisher's 
River, mainly through the instrumentality 
of Solomon Graves, Esq., of Mount Airy, 
and " polititioners" in treating had to 
change their "tacktucks" a little. Mack- 
erel were used by some candidates instead of 
Johnson Snow's " knock-'em-stifi*. " 

"Mackerel! why, didn't every body have 
mackerel V 

Not so fast, captious reader. Close un- 
der the Blue Ridge w^e had nothing but 
chubs, hornyheads, pikes, white suckers, sun- 
perch, eels, speckled trout, and a few other 

* The first time I ever heard of temperance societies in that 
section, the people called them " temple societies." 



110 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES 

small varieties of the finny tribes. Mack- 
erel was unknown when I left in 1829. 

Now it came to pass that a candidate for 
the suffrages of the sovereigns of Fisher's 
Kiver, by the name of Reeves, procured a 
barrel of mackerel from Fayetteville, Wil- 
mington, or somewhere else, at a great deal 
of expense, brought them into Surry, and a 
few of them into Dick's neighborhood, and 
resolved to have a mackerel supper at Wylie 
Franklin's. Dick was invited. Said the 
person inviting him, "Mr. Reeves sends his 
compliments, and wishes you to come over 
this evening to Mr. Franklin's, and take 
some mackerel with him." 

" Ah ! dang Reeves, " said Dick. ' ' That's 
jest like him. I knows him jest as well as 
the man that made him. He knowed I 
couldn't read his dinged newspapers and 
pamphlets" (Dick couldn't read); "but I'll 
go and hear him read 'um ; I loves to hear 
'um read ; I loves good readin'." 

Imagine Dick's surprise when he went 
and found his newsj^apers and pamphlets 
were converted into fish. 



DICK SNOW. 1]^!^ 

Dick was a rough hand to joke people. 
It w^as a law in that region, enacted by com- 
mon consent, that no one was to get angry 
at a joke, however rough it might be. Dick 
observed M. H., a married man, walking 
with a young lady, and conversing pretty 
fluently, and, as he thought, a little too 
amorously, in a crowd. He thought it a 
good chance, and blurted out loudly, 

" Hello w, M ! Ill tell your wife, sir. 

I'm danged ef you hain't sot your coulter 
too deep to make a good craj). You can't 
fool this chile. I'se cut my eye teeth long 



Dick had lost none of his joking propen- 
sities when I visited that section in 1857. 
I wore a long beard — the whole beard — and 
was a perfect wonder to the people. For, 
as stated. Fashion either neglects that place 
wholly, or makes it the last place she visits. 
Upon my arrival, I found that Dame Fash- 
ion had just introduced in full vogue sacks 
and joseys among the young ladies ; and as 
to a full-grown beard, except among the 
" Dunkards," it was " onhearn on." I made 



112 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

my defense one day in a large crowd, and 
when I was through Dick came to my relief 
as follows : 

"Gintlemen, I knows what Hardy wears 
his beard for. You doesn't know him well 
as I does. I was raised wiz him ; I knows 
him adzackly. You see, gintlemen, wimin's 
mighty 'ticin'' things to men, and men''s 
mighty 'ticin' things to wimin. Hardy is 
out a grate deal from home, and he doesn't 
want to 'tice the wimin, nur he don't want 
the wimin to 'tice him ; so he's put on that 
great big, ugly beard, that there mayn't be 
any 'ticement neither way." 

The foregoing anecdotes of Dick Snow are 
a few only of the many now in my memory. 
They have been selected at random, or near- 
ly so. If all that are remembered were 
written, they would fill a large volume ; but 
space allows no more, and I will now give 
the reader his 

COUETSHIP. 

The word "courtship" reminds one of 
courting and of courting days, probably long 



DICK SNOW. 113 

past. So back I go to old Surry, to the 
days of my boyhood. Where is the boy 
who has entered his teens who has not "tried 
his hand'' at courting? His first essays in 
the business are quite laughable. The first 
time I ever attempted to court a girl, being 
quite bashfiil, we went into the cook-house, 
and while I was very awkwardly prefacing 
matters, a shrill tenor voice was heard from 
the "big house," which, set to music, runs 
thus : 

"Oh, Poll, mammy says you must git 
dinner ; and she says you must fry a piece 
o' meat apiece, and two for daddy." 

Thinking meat was a little scarce, and be- 
ing very bashful too, I unceremoniously left. 

Courting was done then and there on an 
original scale, differing from that adopted 
in most other places on this green earth — 
very different from nowadays courting ev- 
ery where. Being a peculiar place, it had 
its own etiquette. 

Most of the people walked to "meetin'." 
Boys and "gals," the boys mostly bare- 
footed, would get together as by magic, and 
walk " side-and-side, " the "gals" with their 



1X4 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

beautiful striped cotton home-made dresses 
on, with their shoes in their "redicules" till 
they got in sight of the "meetin'-house." 
They would then halt, go aside and put on 
their shoes, while their barefooted gallants, 
with tow and cotton shirts and "britches," 
stood in the road till their return. Reader, 
don't be incredulous ; every word of it true. 
And those were happy, happy days. I love 
them because I was an actor in such primi- 
tive scenes of life. 

There were endless ways of getting the 
' ' young folks" together. In the spring there 
would be "grubbings" and "log-rollings;" 
in summer, "reapings ;" and in the fall, 
" corn-shuckings. " On all such occasions 
the girls would always manage to have "quilt- 
ings" and "sewings." As soon as night 
came, or the work was done, the fiddle sound- 
ed, and they danced and courted all night. 
Christmas was a great festival. They felt 
grateful to and blessed the man that invent- 
ed it. With the "young uns" it was a gen- 
eration from one Christmas to another. For 
a whole week they would dance from house 
to house day and night, "sparkin'" going 



DICK SNOW. 11^ 

on at a "big lick" all the time. The old- 
fashioned "seven-handed reel" was the only 
go. A brainless, barrel-headed dancing-mas- 
ter (for all are such) was a perfect lion ; a 
fiddler was next in repute ; and the parson 
was "nowhar." 

For one young man to get the advantage 
of another in "sparkin'" was considered 
quite lawful and shrewd, and it was called 
" cuttin' out." No duels were fought on ac- 
count of it. It was a law in their court- 
ships. The young ladies admired it ; hence 
they would make no engagements with young 
men to be partners with them for a time — 
not even to accompany them to "meetin''" 
and back to their homes. No ; the young 
misses loved to see the young "sparkers" 
exercise their ingenuity in the game of 
"catch and keep." They might start coup- 
led, but before they arrived at their destina- 
tion they would probably "change pardners" 
often. All right, for it has been shrewdly 
done, and has afforded merriment for the 
crowd and matter for conversation. The 
same was true of thefeiv who rode on horse- 
back ; for I have been speaking of the foot 



116 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

crowd. Some fine feats of horsemanship, 
worthy of a Murat or a Cossack, have been 
performed in that region by way of " cuttin' 
out." 

But I have wandered, yet not uninten- 
tionally, for it is necessary and prefatory to 
Dick Snow's courtship. 

Now it came to pass, in the course of hu- 
man events, that Dick fell in love Avith Sally 
Tucker, youngest daughter of William and 
Molly Tucker, a very respectable family. 
"Uncle Billy Tucker" being "well off" for 
that country, and Sally being an admirable 
girl, Dick had quite a time of it, owing to 
her many suitors. Algias Cave was Dick's 
principal opponent, and the struggle was 
long, hard, and doubtful. Nothing but 
Dick's energy and perseverance, and "git- 
tin' on the blind side o' the old folks, " caused 
him to succeed. Many a man would have 
"gi'n it up as a lost ball;" but not so with 
Dick ; ' ' fur, " said he, "I nuver gins a thing 
up as long as there's a pea in the gourd." 

But I must let Dick tell his own court- 
ship. 

"The fust time 1 uver seen Sally," said 



DICK SNOW." 117 

Dick, " I sot my Sections on her right smack 
like a leech on to a fish, so that I'd a gi n 
my life fur her. But I was mighty dry a 
lettin' her know how I was a-takin' on. I 
knowed the boys was a-takin' on and shinin' 
around her, 'tickeler Caldwell Shipp and 
'Gius Cave — 'Gius the wust. I knowed ef 
I didn't spark her soon my cake was dough. 
I made a 'skuse to Sally to go wim me inter 
the garden to show me the hollyhawks and 
all the purty flowers. She went wim me, 
and kept showin' me this, that, and t'other 
cussed thing, which I keered no more for 'um 
than a hog does fur holiday. My heart 
was a-spinnin' round like a top, and my 
breath short as pie-crust, and my body shak- 
in' like a dog with the ager. Last I made 
out to ax Sally ef she'd have me. She said 
she'd 'sider on it a while. Now I'd ruther 
hearn any thing else. I didn't like that 'sid- 
erin' a bit, fur I knowed 'Gius had his eye 
on her like a blue-tailed hawk watchin' a 
chicken ; but I helt a stiiF upper lip ; let on 
like I didn't care a dried-apple durn, and 
left. 

"I staid away fur some time, and 'Gius 



118 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

was all the time knittin' away. I bleeved 
I could onravel all his knittin' when I got 
my pegs sot ; yet I was a good deal con- 
sarned about it, I must 'fess. Last I got a 
hint from Sally, as I tuck it. I went over 
and onraveled all 'Gius's knitting and showed 
him whar Tony hid the wadge. Still I was 
sorter 'served, all to make Sally bleeve I 
wasn't sich anxious arter all. Last I made 
a 'skuse to wuck some fur the old man, Sal- 
ly's daddy. It was corn-gathering time, and, 
I tell you, I made things wake — wucked all 
day, wouldn't stop fur dinner — to show my 
smartness. 

" Sally waited on me at supper, and I 'tar- 
mined to wuck a new plan, and feel uv Sal- 
ly's pulse in a new way. I told her I was 
a-gwine to court a sartin gal, widout namin' 
her. I seen it wucked well, fur she didn't 
like it. I sparked her a little that night, 
and told her I was a-gwine wiz her to meet- 
in' next Sunday. 

"We went, and 'bout the fust man I seen 
was 'Gius. I seen him cuttin' his fox eyes 
'bout as I and Sally walked up to the meet- 
in'-house door. The preachin' didn't do me 



DICK SNOW. IIQ 

much good that day, sartin as a turkle fall- 
in' off "uv a log into a mill-pond. They 
mout a shouted the top of the meetin'-house 
off, and I wouldn't a hearn a word on it. I 
was all the time doin' my own knittin"', and 
'siderin' how to head 'Gius gwine home, as I 
seen it in his foxy looks that he 'tended to 
gin me a clatter. 

"So no sooner had they 'nounced the 
word 'amen' than I got Sally's eye, gin her 
the wink, and started wiz her. I cotch our 
horses, and helped Sally on, and afore I could 
git on my animil, 'Gius — pox take him! — 
like to a got in atween us. But he didn't 
cut me out that bout, and off we put, 'Gius 
close arter us. At last we cum chug up to a 
fence that had no draw-bars nur gate. Thar 
was 'Gius slinkin' along clost behind us. I 
thought I'd be fast anuff fur him, so I jumped 
down, jerked down the fence, 'tendin' to git 
mine and Sally's bosses over, put it up, and 
leave 'Gius on t'other side. But no sooner 
had Sally's boss jumped over and clared the 
fence, than 'Gius — confound him! — jumped 
his over too, afore I could git up a single 
rail. I put up the fence in a mighty great 



120 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

hurry, and was sicli anxious that I put it up 
and left my hoss on t'other side. The fat 
was all in the fire, and I caved in. Aginst 
I pulled down the fence and got my hoss 
over, Sally and 'Gius was away yender. 
'T wasn't long afore we cum to another fence, 
and thar I slayed 'Gius, and I rode home 
wiz Sally arter all 'Gius's knittin'. 

"This scrape made me mighty oneasy, 
and I 'eluded that night to make the big 
war-talk to Sally, hit ur miss. So I yoked 
her, and 'swaded and 'swaded her all night, 
till- jest before day I got her 'sent to marry 
me. When I got her 'sent, I felt like I could 
a shouted 'most as loud as Passon Beller at 
a Mathodiss meetin' ; but I belt my tongue. 

' ' Next time I went over I axed fur Sally. 
I went over on Saturday night, but kep' put- 
tin' it off till Sunday night, and then didn't 
ax fur her. I didn't sleep much Sunday 
night, for sartin. I fixed my plan : I'd git 
up afore Tommy, Sally's brother, soon in 
the mornin' (Tommy slep' v\dz me), knowin' 
the old folks was yearly risers, and ax 'um 
fur her as soon as I got down stairs. But, 
bless you, mate ! I wasn't more'n out'n my 



DICK SNOW. 121 

bade afore Tommy was up too, peart as a 
cricket. I went down stairs, Tommy a-fol- 
lerin' along arter me. Dang him ! he nuver 
got up so soon afore in all his life. I waited 
till the old man went out to feed his hogs, 
and I axed him. Said he, ' Go and ax the 
old 'omun.' I went, which I was in sich a 
sweat to git home to work that I couldn't 
wait till she got out'n the smoke-house. 
While she was in thar cuttin' meat, I axed 
her, and she gin her 'sent. I went home 
tickled to death, nearly, to see how I'd slayed 
'Gius, and had onraveled all his knittin'. 

" We didn't have much of a weddin', 'case 
as how the old man, old 'omun, and all the gals, 
Sally too, was sich Mathodises they wouldn't ' 
'low dancin', and uvry thing was serious as 
a love-feast, 'most, only we didn't tell our 
'spearances, as they does on sich 'casions. 
The fact is, I'd been whizzin' round all my 
life, and had no 'spearance uv 'ligion to tell 
ef I'd been axed. " 

GETTING EELIGION. 

The foregoing are a few only of the many 

interesting incidents in Dick's courtship, 
F 



122 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

which he always told with great gusto. But 
before I dismiss him he must tell the story 
of his attempt to "git ligion." 

' ' Not long arter I was married, old Mis- 
ter and old Miss Tucker 'menced 'swadin me 
to git ligion ; as I had a fambly, I ought to 
set a good 'zample afore 'um, and hold fam- 
bly prayer, and all sich good Vice. I knowed 
it would please them and Sally too ; and, 
knowin' I was a poor, sinful creetur, I 'eluded 
I'd try the 'speriment. So there cum on a 
quarterly meetin' at the old man's, and I 
'eluded that was the time to make my Jack. 
I went on Saturday, wiz my face tolluble 
long, and 'eluded I'd make a good start at 
the 'ginnin'. Nobody knowed what was in 
my head, more'n dander, till Sunday. When 
they 'vited up mourners I went up, and you 
may s'pose there was some racket jist then. 
They all tuck on mightily. Besides Sally's 
folks, the circus -rider prayed fur me, like 
he was beatin' tan-bark off uv trees in dade 
uv winter. They beat my back wusser nur 
a nigger beatin' hominy in a mortar, jist like 
'ligion could be beat inter a man, like maul- 
in' rails out'n locked timber. The meetin' 



DICK SNOW. 123 

broke up, and I tried gittin' ligion a whole 
week ; but I got along so shacklin' I 'eluded 
I wouldn't waste my time, and quit short 
off — short as pie-crust. So IVe nuver 'fessed 
'ligion to this day ; I don't say this boastin' 
— jist state the fact." 

Here, for want of space, I leave my friend 
Dick, only giving the reader, in the follow- 
ing pages, an occasional glance at him. 



124 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 



Vn.— OLIVER STANLEY. 

Oliver was quite a competitor in the line 
of big story-telling, and came to that region 
from the "seaboard."" It did him so much 
good to spin his yarns and tell his feats that 
you would feel perfectly at ease while he 
laughed and "norated" one after another of 
his "bully scrapes." I have room for but 
two of them, though I could fill a volume. 

But I must first attempt a description of 
Oliver, though a photographer could not get 
his inexpressibly eccentric features. He 
was one of your rare men whose whole phys- 
iognomy bids defiance to all picture-taking 
artists. 

He was a small, well-set man, with a sal- 
low, dyspeptic complexion, black eyes, wide- 
mouthed naturally, and it was generally 
spread with uproarious laughter. His stout, 
well-compacted body stood firmly upon, and 
was carried with great ease and facility by, a 



OLIVER STANLEY. 125 

short, stubbed pair of benched legs and lit- 
tle feet, after the Chinese fashion. Though 
his skin was tanned yellow as a pumpkin by 
the seaboard sun, yet he was strongly at- 
tached to white garments, and with great 
uniformity wore that color, to present, no 
doubt, the striking contrast between white 
cloth and a yellow skin. And, to give his 
white shirt and pants some variety in color, 
he was quite careful to besmear his front 
well with tobacco. 

But I must not take up too much time in 
describing an indescribable man, and will 
hasten to give the reader two of Oliver's sto- 
ries, giving them in his own language ; and, 
by the way, he was a good hand at coining 
new words. His looks and laugh I can not 
give, for they are not transferable to paper. 
The first story is 

THE ESCAPE FEOM THE WHALE. 

"On the shank ov one monstracious nice 
eveninV said the redoubtable Oliver, after 
spitting a stream of tobacco-juice on a very 
decent floor, "I toddled down to the sea- 
board to git a bait ov oysters, feelin' consid- 



126 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

dible qualmy 'bout my gizzard. I seen a 
passel ov men com trucklin\to me, rockin' 
along, see-saw one side, then see-saw t'other 
side. They soon fixed thar tarnul peepers 
on me, all on 'um at once, and charmed me 
to the spot, like a black snake charms a 
catbird, and I couldn't budge a peg for the 
life on me. I were tetotatiously spellbound. 
They come right chug up to me, and says one 
on 'um, ' ] lellow, old landlubber ! Go with 
us down to the boat, and we'll gin you a 
gully whompin bait ov oysters.' 

" So, by the same darned charm that had 
chained me to that fatal spot, I was forced 
oiF with 'um. I seen they was a string ov 
sailors, but what o' that? They had sor- 
cerized me, and I were a done-over sucker ; 
so I jist gin up. No sooner had we 'rove at 
the boat, instead o' feastin' me on gully- 
whompin oysters, they nabbed me quick as a 
snappin' turkle, put a gag in my mouf quick- 
er nur yer could bridle a hoss, a bandage on 
my peepers, tied me hand and foot like a 
hog, shouldered me, and trolluped off with 
me I couldn't 'jecter whar. I had ten thou- 
sand idees in a minit, but to no use. 



OLIVER STANLEY. 127 

"'Way in the night they loosened me, 
and I soon seen I were out on the 'Lantick 
Pond, and says I, ' What on the face ov the 
yeth does this mean T says I ; but they gin 
me no answer but a great big hoss laugh. 
Scissorifactions ! how mad I were. I felt 
like I could a whipped a string o' wildcats 
long as Tar Hiver. But thar they stood 
with pistols 'nuff to make a corn-sifter ov 
my hide afore you could bat yer eye, pint- 
in' right at me, and said, 'No questions, 
you landlubber, else well send you to Davy 
Jones's Locker afore three strokes ov a mut- 
ton's tail.' 

"I soon seen that the jig were up, and 
I mout as well cave in. So I jist laid down 
and moseyed off to the land of Nod, and 
staid in that blessed country ov forgitfulness 
till mornin'. I had sich great respect for 
the sun that I riz not till he did ; then the 
cap'en come to me and explorated the whole 
thing. He said they was scase ov sailors, 
and thought they'd jist kidnump me, and 
make a gentleman sailor ov me. I seen my 
cake were dough, and that it warn't wuth 
while to grieve arter spilt milk, and that I'd 



128 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

make the best on it. I bowed, told him I 
were at his sarvice, 'tarmined to make my 
rent out'n 'um and 'feet my escape, whether 
I got out'n the big eend or the little eend o' 
the horn. So I went to work bully fashion. 

" It were a custom ov the sailors to shave 
when they crossed the equinox. So they 
fixed to shave tharselves 'cordin' to this rule 
when they got into the Topic of Capincorn. 
Arter one on 'um, who acted as barber, had 
shaved several on 'um, Avhich he done by 
layin' 'um flat on thar backs, he said to me, 
'Oliver,' says he, 'sprawl yerself leeward, 
and let me shave you 'cordin' to the custom 
o' the world-renowned craft.' 

"Says I, 'What do you lather with?' 
says I, for I had been 'spectin' thar nasty 
lather. 

" 'With hog's dung and tarpintine,' says 
he. 

"I felt orful indignunt, and looked dag- 
gerified at him, and said, ' Not I ! ' says I. 

" 'You'll see,' says he, and made at me. 

"'Never!' says I; and, suitin' action to 
resolution, I kicked over the nasty gourd o' 
shavin' soap smack into the sea, jumped 



OLIVER STANLEY. 129 

overboard, kitin' right arter it, co-souse! 
head foremost, 'tarmined to die afore I'd 
summit to sich an indignitorious shavin' as 
that. 

"I duv 'bout one hundred and fifty yards, 
riz to the top, and outswum like creation, 
distancin' the sharks, and uvry other vinim- 
us fish, fur eight hours, till a monstrus, maul- 
bustin whale com upon me, and licked me 
down like I'd been a year-old herrin'. 

"I soon seen I'd 'jumped out'n the fryin'- 
pan smack inter the fire, ' as the parrabal runs. 
He piked right off wi' me, for all the world 
like I'd been a tiny bullfrog — no more'n a 
bug moufful fur him. When I landed at the 
bottom uv his paunch, and had time to sur- 
vey my parlor a little, I detarmined in less 
nur no time that I warn 't a-gwine to staythar; 
it were no place fur a white man well bred. 
I didn't like the furnitur at all. Every thing 
were so nasty, I detarmined to shift my board- 
in' and lodgin' in short-metre time. 

"I kep' in my pocket allers a tin water- 
tight fixin', which I toated my smokin' ap- 
perrattus in. So I detarmined to try what 
vartue there were in 'baccer smoke, and see 

F 2 



130 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

ef I couldn't have a volcanic erucktion, 
and be throwed out'n his krater like rocks 
out'n Heckla. So I liberately took out my 
pipe and 'baccer, flint, steel, and punk, struck 
fire, crossed my legs, lit my pipe, and went 
to smokin' like ketchin' herrin'. I nuver 
axed liberty to smoke in that parlor, fur it 
were so dirty I didn't think it wuth while to 
be perlite ; so I soon filled that room with 
rich smoke. In little ur no time it waked 
up the old hoss, fur he soon shown signs uv 
disapperbation at my oncommon liberty. I 
didn't let on. Presuntly he begun to blow 
like a iron forge ; but I smoked on, knowin' 
the subject were comin' to an issue fast. 
Soon the old feller begin to cast up fust one, 
then another piece uv belly-furnitur, till at 
last he were sharp enuff to guess that I were 
the cause uv all the fuss in his 'dominal re- 
gions ; so he gin me a rucktion, and sent me 
'bout a hundred feet right up to'ads the good 
world. But alas! my troubles was not 
eended, fur I come down right on the flat uv 
my back in the sea, co-slash ! 

"Soon as I struck water I whirled over, 
quick as a cat, and moseyed ofi* fur tumma 




E90APE FROM THE WHAT,!?. 



OLIVER STANLEY. I33 

fumma. My old inimy were perfectly sat- 
isfied with me, and let me truckle off and 
save my bacon, so fur as he were consarned. 
So I drawed a bead fur land somewhar. I 
swum fur a whole day with sich verlocity 
that sea-sarpints, sharks, and uvry other vin- 
imous monster uv the deep was no more to 
me than snails a-crawlin'. Jist at night I 
landed on a friendly island, and staid thar 
till a vessel come along and tuck me in fifty 
miles uv home, whar, through great mercy, 
I landed next day, to the great joy and as- 
tonishment uv my friends. " 

The above are the particulars of this won- 
derful adventure, "norated" without the 
least fear of contradiction, as was ever indi- 
cated in his looks of defiance. After a few 
hearty laughs and a fi:'esh chew of tobacco, 
he would introduce, with great gusto, his 

INDLA.N AND BEAE STORY. 

"Soon arter this kidnappering by the 
sailors," said the imperturbable Oliver, "I 
'eluded I'd best save my bacon by leavin' 
the seaboard, and try my luck in the AUe- 



134 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

gany Mountings ; fur this scrape had made 
a rantankerous impression on me. So I 
pulled up my stakes, which it warn't hard 
to do, and piked off to a higher latitude. I 
hadn't a doubt in my noggin but what I'd 
far a nation sight better nur I had on the 
seaboard. But hush, honey ! thar were no 
rest fur Oliver Stanley, fur he were borned 
to rough 'ventures. It is the lot uv great 
men uvry whar, in uvry age. 

"No sooner had I landed and marked 
off a little spot uv yeth fur a home, and had 
made a little deadnin' on it, than the cussed 
red-skinned Injins 'vaded my peaceful hom- 
icil, kidnumped me wusser ef possible nur 
the tarnacious tompaulin sailors did, as jist 
norated. When they got me 'way out inter 
the mountings, where no huming but an In- 
jin (ef they are humings) uver trod the sile, 
after wavin', brandisherin', and gleameratin' 
thar tommyhocks over my knowledge -box 
for a long spell, and then thar butcher-knives 
in the same threatnin' aspex, they helt a 
council over my case, and after much glom- 
eration of talk they decided to head me up 
tight in a bar'l, and let me starve to death. 



OLIVER STANLEY. I35 

"This drefful detarmination they carried 
into refect, for they had toated a ile barl all 
the way with 'um on purpose, I s'pose. So 
they jist loosened some uv the hoops at one 
eend, tuck out the head, put me in, and 
headed me up tight as ef I'd a bin old peach 
brandy, all 'ceptin the bung-hole at one eend 
fur me to git ar. Now ef the unhuman 
critters had 'skluded all the ar, my wind 
would a bin broke quick as crockery, and 
ray troubles would a been eended, and me at 
rest. But not so, bless you, mate! that 
were too good fur an Injun. So they jist 
left a bung-hole, inch and a half big, to feed 
me with ar till I bolted out, be it long or 
short. 

" They put me in, as jist norated, jabbered 
a little, and left me to my own codgertations. 
I codgertated and rumbinated fast, I tell 
you, but it done no good. I soon got a-hon- 
gry, which I allers had a rantankerous ap- 
pertite, and thought uv uvry thing to eat, 
good and bad, in all creation, pertic'ler uv 
the big, lungin', fat oysters on the seaboard. 
But it didn't suffy any thing ; it only whet- 
ted my gizzard to think uv 'um. And the 



136 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

nasty, stinkin', tarnacious old ile barl stunk 
like thunder. 

"So I detarmined to git out'n thar ur 
bust a trace; and so I jist pounded away 
with my fist, till I beat it nairly into a jelly, 
at the eend uv the barl ; but it were no go. 
Then I butted a spell with my noggin, but I 
had no purchase like old rams have when 
they butt, fur you know they back ever so 
fur when they take a tilt. Now ef I'd a 
had a purchase to a backed, I'd a knocked 
the head out'n that barl to the astonish- 
ment uv painters and wildcats' — fur the 
woods was full on 'um, frum the racket 
they made. 

"So I caved in, made my last will and 
testerment, and vartually gin up the ghost. 
It were a mighty serious time with me, fur 
sure. While I were lyin thar, balancin' ac- 
counts with t'other world, and afore I had 
all my figgers made out to see hoAv things 
'ud stand, I hearn suthin' scrambulatin' in 
the leaves, and snortin' uvry whip-stitch like 
he smelt suthin' he didn't adzackly like. I 
lay as still as a salamander, and thought. 
Maybe there's a chance fur Stanley yit. 



OLIVER STANLEY. I37 

" So the critter, whatever it mout be, kep' 
moseyin'' round the bar'l. Last he come to 
the bung-hole, put his nose in, and smelt 
mighty perticler, and gin a monstrous loud 
snort. I helt what little breath I had, to 
keep the critter from smellin' the intarnuls 
uv the bar'l. I soon seen it were a bar — 
the big king bar uv the woods, who had 
lived thar from time immortal. Thinks I, 
old feller, look out ; old Oliver ain't dade 
yit. Jist then he put his big black paw in 
jist as fur as he could, and scrabbled about 
to make some 'scovery. 

" The fust thought that struck my noggin 
was to nab his paw, as 'a drowndin' man 
will ketch at a straw ;' but I soon seen that 
wouldn't do, fur, you see, he couldn't then 
travel. Thinks I, 'There's luck in leisure,' 
as I've hearn folks say, so 111 try it, wusser 
fur better and better fur wusser, as the par- 
son says when he marries folks. So I jist 
waited a spell, with great flutterbation of 
mind. 

"His next move was to put his tail in 
the bung-hole uv the bar'l to test its innards. 
I seen that were my time to make my Jack ; 



138 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

SO I seized holt, and shouted at the top uv 
my voice, weak as it was, 

" ' Charge, Chester ! charge ! 
On, Stanley ! on !' 

And the bar he put, and I knowed tail holt 
were better than no holt, and on we went, 
barl and all, the bar at full speed. Now 
my hope were that the bar would jump over 
some presserpiss, brake the barl all to shiv- 
erations, and liberate me from my nasty, 
stinking, ily prison. And, sure 'nuff, the 
bar at full speed, outrunning a scared wolf, 
leaped over a catterrack fifty foot high. 
Down we all went together in a pile, co- 
whoUop, on a big rock, bustin' the barl all 
to ilin derations, n airly shockin' my gizzard 
out^n me. I let go my tail holt — had no 
more use for it — and away went the bar like 
a whirlygust uv woodpeckers were arter it. 
IVe nuther seen nur hearn from that bar 
since, but he has my best wishes fur his pres- 
ent and futer welfar." 

The foregoing are pretty fair specimens of 
the story-telling of my old friend Oliver 
Stanley. 



LARKIN SNOW, THE MILLER. X39 



VIII.— LARKm SKOW, THE MILLER. 

Larkin Snow was doomed to be a miller. 
I have ever believed that a man will fill the 
station for which he was designed by the 
Sovereign Master Overseer of mankind. 
Though Providence designs a man for a cer- 
tain position, natural causes and agencies 
operate also, and, ere he is aware of it, he is 
fulfilling his destiny. But I will not moral- 
ize ; my business is with facts. 

Larkin Snow was a graduate — an old 
stager — in milling when I was a mill-boy ; 
and the last time I heard of him, and no 
doubt at this present time of writing, he is 
grinding away at somebody's tub-mill, for he 
never owned a mill — not he. Over a quar- 
ter of a century ago I was a jolly, singing, 
hoop-pee mill-boy, and carried many a 
"grice" to William Easley's tub-mill on 
"Little Fish E-iver," kept by my old friend 
Larkin Snow. But where am I wandering? 



140 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

After all, the reader must indulge me a 
little while I pay a tribute of respect to the 
numerous tub-mills of my native country, 
for it does me good to think of them and of 
my mill-boy days. Who has not been a 
romping mill-boy ? 

Well, I love tub-mills, and ever shall, for 
my grandfather was the father of them in 
that section. i 

"But who is your grandfather?" 

Never mind. Go and ask Larkin Snow, 
for he knows every man that ever built a 
mill, or ever kept one in that mountain ter- 
ritory. His memory is a perfect genealogy 
of mills and millers. Uncle Billy Lewis 
built a tub-mill on nearly every mountain 
branch (and they were numerous) where he 
could get two or three customers. Uncle 
Davy Lane, who figures largely in this vol- 
ume, had a tub-mill on "Moore's Fork," as 
lazy and slow in its movements as its owner. 
The truth is. Uncle Davy had the advan- 
tage, for "sarpunts" could move him to the 
speed of electricity, but a "good head of wa- 
ter" made but little diiFerence with his mill. 
His son "Dave" kept it (said Dave was' 



LARKIN SNOW, THE MILLER. 141 

his daddy's own son), and he and I used 
to bake "johnny-cakes" to keep from starv- 
ing while it was grinding my "grice." We 
ate nearly as fast as it could grind. But 
my old neighbor, William Easley, had the 
fastest tub-mill in all that country, on Little 
Fisher's River, and Larkin Snow was his 
faithful miller. 

Every man has ambition of some kind, 
and Larkin, though nothing but a humble 
miller who gloried in his calling, had his 
share, and a good one too, of ambition. His 
ambition consisted in being the best miller 
in the land, and in being number one in big 
story-telling. He had several competitors, 
as may be seen from these sketches, but he 
held his own with them all, even with Uncle 
Davy Lane. The reader will judge best, 
however, when he reads the stories given as 
samples of Larkin's gift in that line. Lar- 
kin must pardon us, should he ever see these 
pages, for giving but two of his fine stories, 
that of the eels and the fox-dog. These sto- 
ries will do him ample justice. 

Larkin Snow was a patient, kind, forbear- 
ing-looking man, of ordinary size. His eyes 



142 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

squinted, and so did his sallow features. 
His dress was plain: tow and cotton shirt, 
summer and winter ; striped cotton pants 
in summer, and dressed buckskin ones in 
winter; no coat in summer, a linsey hunt- 
ing-shirt in winter. His hat was wool, turn- 
ed up all round, gummed up with meal, and 
so was his entire suit. His looks were 
wholly unambitious — strange that he should 
ever strive to excel in big story-telling. But 
looks sometimes deceive one, and we will let 
Larkin speak for himself in the 

STORY OF THE EELS. 

"Now, you see, while I were keepin' Mr. 
Easley's mill," said Larkin, squinting his 
eyes and features, showing the remains of 
his little round teeth, nearly worn to the 
gums chewing tobacco, "I planted me a 
track patch near the bank uv the river, jist 
below the mill-dam. I knowed I could 
work it at odd spells, while the water were 
low and the mill ran slow, and I jist filled it 
with all sorts o' things and notions. But 
as all on us, the old Quilt (his wife), childer- 
ing, and all, was mighty fond o' peas, I were 



LARKIN SNOW, THE MILLEE. ^43 

mighty perticler to plant a miglity good 
share uv them ; and to make a bully crap o' 
Crowders and all other sorts o' peas uver 
hearn on, I pitched them in the best spot uv 
the little bit uv yeth, near the river, clost on 
the bank. 

"We, the old Quilt and I, spilt sevrul 
galluns uv humin grease workin' on 'um, 
and they growed monstus nice. We was 
a-congratterlatin' ourselves on the monstus 
crap we'd make, when we seed suthin kept 
crappin' 'um, perticler right on the bank uv 
the river. Uvry mornin' it was wuss and 
wuss. I soon seen the thing would be out 
wi' my peas ef thar warn't a stop put to it, 
fur thar wouldn't a bin a Crowder to sweet- 
en our teeth with. I kept watchin' and 
watchiri', but couldn't make the least 'scuv- 
ry. The fence were allers up good, the gate 
shot, and not the track of varmunts could be 
seen nur smelt, har nur hide. I were mighty 
low down in the mouth, I tell you. Starva- 
tion huv in sight ; my sallet were meltin' 
away mighty fast. 

' ' I were so mightily taken down 'bout it 
I couldn't sleep a wink ; so I thort I mout 



144 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

as well watch. I sneaked along down to 
the bank uv the river through my pea-patch. 

The moon were shinin' mighty bright, and 
what do you think I seen? I seen 'bout 
five hundred big maulbustin eels dart into 
the river out'n my pea-patch. I soon seen 
through the dreadful Vastation uv my black- 
eyed Crowders ; the pesky eels had done it." 

"Dang it, Larkin," said Dick Snow, 
"whar did sich a gullbustin chance uv eels 
cum from f 

"Eels, you see," continued Larkin, "ef 
you knowed the natur on 'um, are mighty 
creeturs to travel, and they'd cum up — a 
host on 'um — fur as the mill-dam, and 
couldn't git no furder. They had to live, 
and they'd cotched uvry minner, and had 
eat up uvry thing in the river about thar, 
and they moseyed out on my pea-patch. 

"Now I were fur from lettin' them eat 
up my crap, so I put on my studyin' cap to 
find out the best plan to make a smash uv 
the whole bilin' on 'um. I soon hit the nail 
on the head, and fixed on the plan. 

"You see thar were but one place whar 
they could git out'n the river inter my patch 



LARKIN SNOW, THE MILLER. ^47 

uv Crowders, and that were a narrer place, 
'bout three foot wide, that crossed the river. 
I knowed it warn't wuth while to try to hold 
the creeters, they was so slickery ; so, you 
see, I sot a big, whoppin barl near the river 
whar they cum out, near thar path. I told 
the old Quilt to fill it full uv dry ashes du- 
rin' the day while I were grindin', which she 
done, fur the old creetur thought a mighty 
sight uv her pea-patch. 

"Now when night cum on, and a dark 
one too — a good night fur eels to graze, and 
when I thort all on 'um was out a-grazin', I 
sneaked along by the bank uv the river, 
mighty sly, I tell you, till I got to the bar'l. 
I then listened, and hearn 'um makin' the 
peas wake ; so I jist turned the barl over 
right smack in thar path, and filled it chug 
full uv the dry ashes fur ten steps, I reckon. 
I then went up in the patch above 'um, gin 
a keen holler, and away they went, scootin' 
fur the river. You nuver hearn sich a rip- 
pin' and clatteration afore, I reckon. I 
knowed I had 'um ; so, you see, I called fur 
a torchlight to see my luck. Now when the 
old Quilt and the childering brought the 



148 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

light, hallaluyer ! what a sight. Sich a pile 
on 'um, all workin' up together in the dry 
ashes, like maggits in carron. The ashes 
were the very thing fur 'um, fur they soon 
gin up the ghost. 

"I soon, you see, 'cided what to do with 
'um. "We went to work and tuck out'n the 
ashes five hundred and forty-nine, some uv 
'um master eels. All the next day we was 
a-skinnin', cleanin', and barrelin' on 'um up. 
They'd got fat out'n my peas, but we got good 
pay out'n 'um fur it. The fryin'-pan stunk fur 
months with fat eels, and we all got fat and 
sassy. So I were troubled no more with 
eels that year ; fur I think, you see, we 
shucked out the whole river." 

This story he would tell you coolly, while 
he would occasionally feel of his meal — while 
the old tub-mill would perform its slow rev- 
olutions as though it was paid by the year — 
to see whether it was ground fine enough to 
suit him. He would then give you one of 
his peculiar looks, having just got his hand 
in, and would tell you the story of the 



LARKIN SNOW, THE MILLER. I49 



FAST-EUNNING DOG. 

Fox-hunting was a favorite sport with 
many; indeed, all loved it, but only a few 
kept hounds and gave chase to mischiev- 
ous Reynard. Foxes were quite plenty, and 
renowned for deeds of daring. The women 
hated hounds most cordially, yet they would 
endure them for the sake of their fowls. If 
their fowls were destroyed, they could nei- 
ther make soup nor their rich pot-pies, both 
of which were much admired. Wylie Frank- s 
lin was a great favorite with chicken-raisers, \ 
for if a hen-roost was invaded a hint to him \ 
was all that was needed, and the marauder 
was soon taken. The compositions of Mo- ^ 
zart, Handel, and Haydn were no music to 
these fox-hunters compared with the voice 
of hounds in the chase. Sometimes there 
would be a great rally of fox-hunters at 
some point to have a united chase, to see 
who had the fastest and the toughest hound. 
This must be kept in view in reading the 
story of Larkin's fast-running dog. 

"You see," said Larkin, "a passel uv fel- 



150 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

lers cum frum 'bout Eockford, Jonesville, 
and the Holler to have a fox-hunt, and kep' 
a-boastin' uv thar fast dogs. I told 'um my 
little dog Flyin'-jib could beat all thar dogs, 
and give 'um two in the game. I called 
him up and showed him to 'um, and you 
mout a hearn 'um laugh a mile, measured 
with a 'coonskin and the tail throwed in. I 
told 'um they'd laugh t'other side o' thar 
mouths afore it were done. They hooted me. 
"We went out with 'bout fifty hounds, 
and, as good luck would hev it, we started a 
rale old Yirginny red fox, 'bout three hours 
afore day, on the west side uv Skull Camp 
Mountin. He struck right off for the Sad- 
dle Mountin, then whirled round over Scott's 
Knob, then to Cedar Ridge, up it, and over 
Fisher's Peak, round back uv the Blue Ridge, 
then crossed over and down it at Blaze 
Spur, then down to and over Bound Peak, 
then Down Ring's Creek to Shipp's Muster- 
ground, and on agin to'ads Skull Camp. 
Not fur from Shipp's Muster-ground they 
passed me, and Flyin'-jib Were 'bout half a 
mile ahead on 'um all, goin' fast as the re- 
port of a rifle gun. Passin' through a 



LARKIN SNOW, THE MILLER, X51 

meader wliar thar were a mowin'-scythe with 
the blade standin' up, Flyin'-jib run chug 
aginst it with sich force that it split him 
wide open frum the eend uv his nose to the 
tip uv his tail. Thar he lay, and nuver 
whimpered, tryin' to run right on. I streaked 
it to him, snatched up both sides uv him, 
slajDped 'um together, but were in sich a hur- 
ry that I put two feet down and two up. 
But away he went arter the fox, scootin' 
jist in that fix. You see, when he got tired 
runnin' on two feet on one side, he'd whirl 
over, quick as lightnin', on t'other two, and 
it seemed ruther to hev increased his ver- 
locity. He cotch the fox on the east side 
uv Skull Camp, a mile ahead uv the whole 
kit uv 'um. 

"Now when the fellers cum up, and seen 
all thar dogs lyin' on the ground pantin' fur 
life, and Flyin'-jib jist gittin' his hand in, they 
was mighty low down in the mouth, I war- 
rant you. All the conserlation they had 
was seein' my dog in sich a curious fix. 
But I jist kervorted, and told 'um that were 
the way fur a dog to run fast and long, fust 
one side up, then t'other — it rested him. " 



152 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 



IX.— UNCLE BILLY LEWIS. 

Clever old man ! little did he think that 
his name would ever get "into prent," and 
be ranked among the heroes of Fisher's Riv- 
er. I know he never sought it ; however, I 
love to honor an humble-minded man. 

Uncle Billy Lewis came from the " Huck- 
t'leberry Ponds," near Fayetteville. An un- 
fortunate accident forced him, much against 
his will, to leave his native section, to which 
he was devotedly attached. But he was 
quite a philosopher, and seemed cheerful and 
hap23y in the mountains of Surry. He was 
ever busy, either in building tub-mills across 
the mountain creeks and branches, sitting on 
his "hunkers" cutting out mill-stones in the 
lonely mountains, or hunting deer, turkeys, 
and bees in the wild forests. Not a lazy 
bone in his tough, yellow-tanned skin. No 
Cherokee Indian was more fleet on foot than 
he. A quarter of a century has passed since 



UNCLE BILLY LEWIS. I53 

I saw him, yet his image is as indelibly fixed 
on my mind as though I had seen him but 
yesterday. He was an unforgetable man. 

There he stands, full six feet high, well 
put up for walking, more limbs than body. 
His rifle and shot-pouch are prominent ob- 
jects, for he wears them gracefully. It is 
winter, and he has on his winter dress. Be- 
gin at his head and look down to his feet. 
He wears a smooth " 'coonskin*" fur hat, 
glazed all over with sweat and grease from 
his head, and looks black and sleek as a dan- 
dy's boots. A walnut-dyed linsey hunting- 
shirt, girded with a leathern belt — said belt 
looks as if it might have come from oiF one of 
Adam''s calves. His "jacket" is made of calf- 
skin tanned with the hair on. His "britch- 
es" are dressed buckskin, tight as the skin, 
w^ith sole-leather buttons sewed on with a 
leather thong. Instead of shoes, he wears 
hoo;skin moccasins broo-ued with sole-leather. 
He wears a tow and cotton shirt, and as to 
drawers the deponent saith not. 

But look at that odd face, long and lank, 

yellow and thick-skinned ; forehead large 

and high ; eyes large and white, dull-looking 
G2 



154 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

and expressive of confidence in and generos- 
ity toward men ; two large upper front teeth 
sticking out of his mouth like iron wedges ; 
his chin long and expressive of marvelous- 
ness. The whole countenance combined says 
Uncle Billy Lewis is an honest, confiding, 
simple-hearted, artless man, easily duped by 
wags and sharpers. 

Uncle Billy could not speak plainly, was 
a little tongue-tied, and then those iron- 
wedged teeth prevented him firom articulat- 
ing distinctly. Besides, he was naturally 
disposed to be short and sententious in his 
conversation, any way. But I must not be 
too long in trying to bring the image of my 
old friend before the reader's mind. Let 
the old man, in his characteristic way, tell 
you the story of 

THE fiee-huis:t. 

"This is a monstrous nice nis^ht to shine 
old bucks' eyes. Uncle Billy ; s'pose we take 
a fire-hunt," said a quiz to the old man, to 
draw out of him the reasons that caused him 
to leave the "Huckleberry Ponds" of Cum- 
berland. 



UNCLE BILLY LEWIS, 155 

"It mout be," said Uncle Billy, with his 
white, leaden eyes looking very sorrowfully, 
"but I don' 'elude 111 fire-hunt no more. 
That drefPul night that caused me to leave 
good ole Cumberland I shall never forgit. 
That wur the wust fire-hunt a poor mortal 
ever got inter. It was a dark, drizzly night 
— good night fur jacker-mer- lanterns and 
old bucks. I took O'Pan, * loaded her heavy 
with big buck drop-shot, which I bought in 
Fayetteville with huckleberries, with pan and 
torch on a shoulder ; got lost — led out'n my 
way by a stinkin' jacker-mer-lantern. I went 
bogin along, thought I was gwine right, 
looked afore me, seed a whole heap o' bright 
shiny eyes, turned the pan round and round. 
' Shiny eyes — shiny eyes, ' says I ; ' now's the 
time ! njow's the time ! ' 

"I whip up O'Pan, draw a bead — ^bang! 
went O'Pan ; jingle, jingle, jingle went 
chains. I see men comin' ; I throw down 
O'Pan, light, and all, and took through the 
huckleberry swamp like a 'coon. Here come 
men arter me, sayin', ' Here he goes, boys ! 
here he goes ! ' 

* His musket. 



156 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

''I run on, come to mud-pond, and in I 
went, sock ! sock ! sock ! last up I go to my 
armpits, and could go no furder. Men come 
up and say, ' Here he went, boys ! here he 
went ! '' 

' ' I lay in the mud, still as a turkle, till 
they lost me. When they left me I tried to 
git out — had a hard time of it. Thar stood 
a jacker-mer-lantern grinnin' at me. I rake 
mud, fust with one hand, then with t'other — 
rake, rake. Last out I cum, muddy as a 
hog. I went home, told the fambly, left 
that night, fambly follered, and all the poor 
men got for my shootin' thar bosses was 
O'Pan and my torch-pan. That was a 
raem'ble night — never forgit — never fire- 
hunt since." 

UNCLE BILLY PREACHES. 

Uncle Billy was a Baptist, and doubtless 
a good man. The only thing that ever was al- 
leged against him was shining the horses' eyes, 
"liftin' up O'Pan, bang!" and making the 
horses' chains go "jingle, jingle!" and then 
leaving old Cumberland between two suns, 
if that part of the story is correct. Wheth- 




THE FIRE-nTTNT. 



UNCLE BILLY LEWIS. ^59 

er or not there were any horses killed, no de- 
ponent has testified. It is probable Uncle 
Billy thought going through the mud 
' ' sock ! sock ! " sinking into the mud well-nigh 
chin deep, and being grinned at Avhile in that 
pitiable condition by that impudent and 
wicked "jacker-mer-lantern," was a sufficient 
atonement. At any rate, in old Surry, "by 
his fruit" he was considered by all a good 
man. 

I have intimated that he was a very cred- 
ulous man, and easily imposed upon by 
wags. He had wanted to preach for some 
time — had some "loud calls" — but his 
Church gave him no encouragement, believ- 
ing; some one else was "called" and Uncle 
Billy had answered. He was not "slow of 
speech, " but he could lay a good claim to a 
"stammering tongue." His brethren, on 
that account, thought he could not "edify 
them." 

There were, however, a few "outsiders" 
who urged the old man to "exercise his 
gift." Bill Holder, Hen Holder, Ike Puck- 
ett, Bill Auberry, Shack Gallion, and others, 
encouraged him to "hold forth." "They 



1,30 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES, 

wouldn't ax the Church no boot, no how. 
He were a free man. Well make you up 
the biggest crowds ef you'll jist hold night 
meetings. " 

The thing took. There was a shrewd 
man, Jim Blevins, in whom Uncle Billy had 
unbounded confidence, who urged him for- 
ward to his "duty." Jim's advice was 
taken, and Uncle Billy made several ap- 
pointments, and had "thundering crowds," 
mostly young people for their amusement. 
There they sat, with their "heads bowed 
down like the loonsome bulrush," as Uncle 
Billy poetically expressed it, weeping over 
their sins, as he thought, but the wicked 
creatures were laughing. 

Jim Blevins always attended, and manu- 
factured a good portion of the old man's 
thunder — would tell him what to say to " re- 
larm the wicked folks." The last sermon 
Uncle Billy ever preached, Blevins, his Vul- 
can, manufactured some heavy thunderbolts 
for him. 

Jim told him, one evening before he 
preached, that he had " suthin' relarmin' to 
tell him," That he had been that day on 



UNCLE BILLY LEWIS. IgJ 

the Bald Rock on Fisher's Peak, and while 
sitting under a bunch of bushes near the 
edge of the Bald Rock, it being very hot, he 
saw a huge flying snake in the air above 
him, fall twelve feet long, with a stinger at 
the end of his tail at least twelve inches 
long, and its eyes were like balls of fire. It 
would fly round the Peak and the Bald 
Rock, looking first on one side, then on the 
other, screaming worse than a panther. "I 
sloped," continued Jim, "back uv Fisher's 
Peak, but it were like jumj^in' out'n the fry- 
in'-pan inter the fire ; for thar I hearn a 
yahoo. It was a-bawlin' loLider than a can- 
non, ' ya-hoo ! ya-hoo ! ' I hid, and it come 
by in thirty yards liv me. What a bustin 
critter it was ! It had horns ten foot long, 
mouth as big as a hogshead, and teeth long 
as a sword and sharp as a razor. The way 
it kills things is, it gits them on its horns, 
and keeps tossin' them up till they are dead 
as a herrin', then he swallows them down 
slick as a bar swallerin' down a piece uv 
honey-comb. Uncle Billy, you ought to 
warn the people uv thar drefful danger this 
night. I've discharged my duty in tellin' 



162 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

you, and I now leave it with you to clare 
yer skirts of thar blood. " 

That was enough. The conscientious old 
man felt newly commissioned, and more 
thunder to his former stock was added. He 
met his audience, commenced, and soon got 
through the doctrinal part of his sermon, 
and then came to the "pathetic part." I 
shall only attempt to give the closing part 
of his exhortation. With great earnest- 
ness in his sad, woe-begone countenance, he 
said, 

"Sinner, you'd better 'pent! Danger 
abroad! Look out, I tell ye. Skin yer 
eyes good. Open yer ears wide. Listen, 
that you may hear. Your blood mout be 
'quired o' me. Jim Blevins seen — O sin- 
ner, 'pent and listen — Jim Blevins seen — 
O my soul! — Jim Blevins went on Fisher's 
Peak this mornin', and to the Baw' Rock, 
got tired, sot down under bunch o' bushes 
to rest, and what did he see ? O my soul ! 
Sinner, 'pent! He seen a flyin' snake — 
drefFul critter — twelve foot long, stinger 
'bout a feet long, eyes red like balls o' fire 
from Pandermonium — O sinner, 'pent ! My 



UNCLE BILLY LEWIS. Igg 

bowels yearns over you — lookin' fust this 
way, then t'other, to see what he could see, 
and a-squallin' wusser nur a painter — O sin- 
ner, 'pent ! — ^'pent, I tell you, else yer a gone 
sucker. For sartin and for sure, ef he pops 
his stinger inter you, yer gone world 'thout 
eend, amen, 'thout the benefit o' clargy. 

"But, sinner, flyin' snakes is mighty bad ; 
bad as they is, howsomever, 'tain't nothin' 
to what Jim Blevins seen arter that. ' Jim, 
soon as the flyin' snake went out'n sight, he 
run over back o' Fisher's Peak, and — O my 
soul ! — what did he see ? A yahoo, sinner — 
a yahoo ! Jim hid, and it past along close 
by, and it was high as a house, horns ten 
foot long, mouf big as a hogshead — 'pent, 
sinner, 'pent ! It run by Jim, hollerin' ' ya- 
hoo ! ya-hoo ! ' louder nur cannon at the bat- 
tle o' Guilford Court-house, whar 'Wallis 
was font by Greene. Jim says the way he 
kills folks — sinner, 'pent! — he gits you on 
his horns, he tossee up — he tossee up, jist 
like trouncin' a bullfrog, till life clean gone — 
'pent, sinner, 'pent! — then he'll take you in 
his mouf, and he'll lick you down like a 
hongry bar does a piece o' honey-comb, as 



154 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

Jim Blevins says. Sinner, I Ve warned you ; 
I'm clare o' yer blood. Ef that fiyin' snake 
or that yahoo gits you, you can't blame me 
fur it. No, don't blame the old man nur 
Jim Blevins." 

The above discourse came to the ears of 
Uncle Billy's church, and they "called in 
his gift." But he never quit cutting out 
mill-stones, making tub-mills, and hunting 
bees long as his "head was above the yeth." 



JOHN SENTER, 



165 



X.— JOHN SENTER. 

At the mere mention of the name of John 
Senter I am carried in a moment to a little 
farm near the head of Little Fisher's River, 
upon which Fisher's Peak looks doAvn with 
awful grandeur and majesty. This little 
farm is divided by the river, narrow strips 
of bottom land on each side, and then come 
in abrupt, steep hills. John Senter inherit- 
ed this isolated piece of "yeth*" from his good 
old father, Zack Senter. In a little cabin 
on the side of a steej) laurel-hill (and a hill 
there is a hill), on the west side of the river, 
lives my friend John Senter, of happy mem- 
ory. I defy any man to forget the place, or 
the man who owns it, after a view of both. 

When I saw my friend's cabin in 1857, I 
took it to be in size about ten feet by eight- 
een ; the board roof was fastened on by 
"weight-poles," somewhat after the Indian 
fashion; no "loft" in it; puncheon floor, 



IQQ FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

split out of trees with his own hands ; chim- 
ney made of sticks and clay ; two or three 
log joists extended across, not above my 
head, but above the head of John and fami- 
ly, for they were "short stock." On these 
joists were hung, by way of ornament prob- 
ably, and certainly for profit, some "pos- 
sum" skins and "'coon" skins, and some 
other fur skins too tedious to mention. I 
was not much pleased with their perfume, 
but bore for half an hour what they did all 
the time. The door, on the down-hill side 
of the "house," was sufficiently high to ad- 
mit a reasonably tall man without stooping ; 
but that door was not allowed to be used 
then, for the "lower yard," up to the door, 
was a fine green Irish potato patch. A lit- 
tle path led me through a patch of rye to 
the "upper yard," which was about three 
feet wide of level ground, and this narrow 
yard was dug out of the side of the hill. I 
halted, and my head was above the eave of 
the house. I stooped down to look for the 
door, and, behold, it was there, about four 
and a half feet high — not an inch higher. I 
saw John's good wife, Hollin, daughter of 



JOHN SENTER. 157 

Oliver Stanley, of "whale" and "bar" mem- 
ory, busily engaged in sewing, when the fol- 
lowing salutations were passed in primitive 
style : 

' ' How do you do, Mrs. Senter ?" I asked. 

' ' Lausyday, Hardy ! is that you ? I hearn 
you had come back to see yer old stompin 
ground. Come in." 

" Thank you, " I replied ; "I will if I can 
get in." 

"Stoop low, and you'll come it." 

I obeyed, went in, but was greatly disap- 
pointed in not seeing my old friend John. 
Upon inquiry, I found he had gone out that 
day " harvestin'. " My object was two-fold: 
to see my old friend John and family, and 
to get one of his wooden-bottomed shoes to 
take into my section as a curiosity to proud, 
spendthrift, "fast" young cocksparrows, and 
to ultimately deposit it in some college as a 
monument to John's genius and economy, 
and a wonder to all beholders. He had in- 
vented and worn them before I left that sec- 
tion in 1829, and I wished to know whether 
he wore them still. 

"Mrs. Senter," I inquired, "does John 



168 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

wear his wooden - bottomed shoes nowa- 
days?' 

" Lausy, yes ; he couldn't live 'thout 'um. 
He made me wear 'um for two long, tejus 
years ; but they was so nation heavy I told 
him, right fiatfooted, I'd go barfooted afore 
I'd wear 'um, both summer and winter, 
through frost and snow, heat and cold. Him 
and Sol and Zack (his sons) wear 'um still, 
and will, I reckon, long as thar heads is 
above the yeth, and I wouldn't be s'prised 
ef the ole man had his'n buried with him." 
"Did he wear them off to-day?" 
"No, not him; he went barfooted." 
" Over the rocks, and in the briers of the 
harvest-field V 

"Shucks! his feet is tough as grissle." 
"Will you be so kind as to let me look 
at them ?" 

"Sartinly; but they're mighty odd-look- 
ing critters — jist like the old man, though." 
Kind Hollin went to a bed, brought them 
out, and threw them down before me. ' ' Take 
care," said she, "else they'll mash yer toes 
inter mince-meat." 

The admonition was a timely and a benev- 



JOHN SENTER. 169 

olent one, as the reader will see by the de- 
scription. The bottoms were made of " dog- 
wood," and where they were not much worn 
they were an inch and a half thick. In the 
heels were driven several large nails, resem- 
bling horse-shoe nails, of his own make, 
also one large nail on the side of the bottom, 
at the "ball" of the foot, to answer the two- 
fold purpose of giving the shoe some spring 
or elasticity, and to keep him from slipping 
on the mud, snow, or ice. The vamps were 
made of tanned hogskin, kept soft somewhat 
by "'possum grease. The quarters were cow- 
leather tanned in a log trough. Then there 
were leggins of tanned buckskin tacked on 
to the quarters, that came up the leg, to 
keep out snow in winter, and to ward off 
snakes in summer when he went hunting, and 
were laced up with "whangs." The leather 
was tacked on to the wooden bottoms with 
tacks — nails, rather — of his own making. 
He was too much of an economist to "buy 
tacks out'n the cussed stores." 

I was anxious to procure one from Hol- 
lin, but could not, as the reader will learn 

from the following brief dialogue : 
H 



170 FISHER'S KIVER SKETCHES. 

"Mrs. Senter," I inquired, "can I get 
one of these shoes for love or money ? Set 
your own price on it, and the money shall 
be forthcoming." 

" That I won't ! I know the ole man too 
well fur that. I mout as well, and better 
too, sell his Sunday furred hat. Come agin 
and see him ; he mout let you hev one." 

"It will be out of my power ; I must re- 
turn in a day or two, " said I. 

"Well, I knows what's what." 

Next day I sent 'Squire West Freeman, 
and he, by paying pretty dearly for it, pro- 
cured me one. Should any one wish to see 
said shoe, he can find it labeled "A Fisher's 
Kiver (North Carolina) Dancing Pump, " and 
deposited among the many curiosities — and 
the greatest curiosity of them all — of the 
East Alabama Baptist Female College, Tus- 
kegee, Alabama. 

But this cabin and this eccentric wooden- 
bottomed shoe have led me astray. I must 
return, and give the reader some further 
"insight" of friend John. 

John Senter is about five feet seven inches 
high, round-shouldered, so much so that he 



JOHN SENTER. ]^7j[ 

crosses his "galluses" (leather) before and 
behind to keep his "britches" on him, very 
thin visaged, yellow ' ' pumpkin" skin, tough 
and wrinkled. His eyes are small and scowl- 
ing. His features are hard and rigid, indica- 
tive of spleen and general suspicion. His 
beard is long, full of dirt and "swingle-tow" 
(he is a good hand to break and clean flax). 
His movements are irregular, sometimes 
rapid, then slow and thoughtful. His im- 
pulses govern his movements in his own per- 
son and in his intercourse with others. His 
dress is equal in eccentricity to his looks, 
conversation, and movements. His sum- 
mer hat is either wheat, rye, or oat straw, 
of his own manufacture invariably. His 
winter hat is wool, bought from the hatter 
with lambs' wool. His "Sunday go-to- 
meetin' " hat is an old-fashioned, smooth, 
bell-crowned fur hat — his wedding hat, 
doubtless — which was purchased with 'coon, 
rabbit, mink, and musk-rat skins. His ev- 
ery-day coat was a "round-about," striped 
round like a "'coon's" tail. For Sunday 
and a "go-abroad" coat he wore a striped 
cotton, sharped, long, swallow-tailed coat. 



172 riSHEE'S KIVEE SKETCHES. 

In winter he wore "britclies" of tanned 
sheepskin. His "jacket" was striped Tur- 
key red cotton. His shirt was tow and flax, 
with the collar so long that it hung down 
on his shoulders like the cape of an old- 
fashioned "big coat." His shoes have been 
already described. 



THE TEIAL. 

John was very fond of litigation. With 
him "to be in law" was no small idea. His 
splenetic nature naturally inclined him that 
way. Such was his fondness for law and 
of his attendance upon justice's court, that 
'Squire Freeman's wife would not consent 
for "court" to be held in her house. She 
had two potent reasons: first, all the liti- 
gants begaumed her house with tobacco- 
juice ; and, second, John's wooden-bottomed 
shoes, with their horse-shoe nails, made a 
marhed impression on it. The "'squire," 
therefore, held "court" in the cook-house. 
I went into said "kitchen" to see the havoc 
John had made of the floor with his shoes, 
and it was as if a fresh-shod horse, or mule, 
rather, had been stabled in it. 



JOHN SENTER. I73 

To show you John's fondness for law, I 
will give you one instance in proof. He 
once sued Ben Carson on the following 
items, and had a regular trial : 

Item 1. One half gallon soap-grease. 

Item 2. One half pint salt. 

Item 3. One half gallon sifted meal. 

Item 4. Three plants of tobacco. 

Poor Ben was "cast," and 'Squire Free-i 
man rendered judgment in John's favor. i 

THE WEDDING. 

The marriage relation is the most time- 
honored institution in the world, and God, 
by making it the first^ has sufficiently dem- 
onstrated its utility. It has withstood the 
rude and cunning assaults of base men and 
disorganizers in all ages. It has been hon- 
ored in all nations from the king down to 
the rudest peasant. In the region of which 
I am treating they strictly obeyed the injunc- 
tion, " Multiply and replenish the earth," as 
though it was "the first commandment with 
promise. " They were unlike the disobedient 
young people of this age, who wait till they 
make a fortune before they marry ; they, like 



174 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

sensible folks, married first, " and scuffled for 
their fortins arterwards. '^ Now who can 
blame their course ? 

Now and then we see a hopeless case — 
one whom we think never can marry. Na- 
ture, in her sovereignty, has denied such per- 
sons beauty, talents, and wealth. Their 
chances for "holy wedlock" would be bad 
in some cruel, fastidious sections ; not so in 
that section where Nature holds her sway 
without the artificial wants and rules of "re- 
finement." All marry there, whether they 
have beauty, talents, or wealth. There ap- 
pears to be a sort of happy destiny, in this 
respect, for them all. They may be shaped 
like fat-stands or look like toys, it is all the 
same, they marry. 

Of course, John Senter's children must 
not be an exception — they must marry. 
Now it came to pass that his son Sol took 
it into his head to marry. Dwarfish-look- 
ing and crippled as he was, he came to the 
rational conclusion, " It is not good for man 
to be alone, " in a section, too, where marry- 
ing was so popular and fashionable. 

It was not difficult for him to find a per- 



JOHN SENTER. I75 

son of like feeling in Sally Spencer, daugh- 
ter of Polly Spencer, who lived in the face 
of the Blue Ridge,, near the Blaze Spur. In 
addition to their warm affection for each 
other, an accident to each one had increased 
their attachment. Sol had had a white-swell- 
ing in his right leg, which had lamed him for 
life, and Sally's left leg had been broken, 
which made her equally lame. It looked 
like a bad chance for a support, for, in addi- 
tion to these mishaps, they were as poor as 
"Job's turkey." But they loved each oth- 
er, and were willing to link their destiny to- 
gether, and "take one another better fur 
wusser and wusser fur better, " in the graphic 
language of Bob Snipes, who shall tell the 
story of their wedding. Said Bob Snipes 
is a plain-spoken fellow, and tells stories in 
his own way. 

"Now I was a-workin' fur 'Squire Free- 
man one flinderin hot day," said Bob, "and 
who should I see but Sol Senter come hop- 
a-kickin' along over the plowed yeth, through 
the cornfield, throwin' his game leg around 
like a reap-hook, and when he come up to 
the 'squire and me he was sweatin' like a 



176 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

coal-kill. Says I, ' Sol, don't knock down 
all the corn with that reap-hook leg o' yourn. ' 
He nuver said a word to me, but buckled up 
to the 'squire, like a little dog does to a big 
one when he wants to show out, and, says 
he, 

"''Squire, I's come to swap work with 
you. Times is so hard, and I want's to 
work a day or two fur you to go as fur as 
dad's to marry me. I won't ax you to go 
as fur as Sally's house, which you know is 
three miles above dad's ; but jist go to dad's, 
and I'll go and fetch Sally down thar. It 
shall never be said that Sol Senter got 'Squire 
Freeman to marry him fur nothin', and it 
mout be swappin' work mout do jist as well. ' 

"When Sol eended his speech, he looked 
'mazin' anxious to hear what the 'squire'd 
say. The 'squire was a monstrous 'commer- 
datin' man, and, says he, ' Good as wheat in 
the mill-hopper, Sol ; work for me a day, 
and keep up with Bob Snipes' (here the 
'squire gin me the wink), 'and I'll go.' 

"I'll be dinged ef, when the 'squire said 
that, Sol didn't look as big as Nibuchadnee- 
zer and as rich as Festus ; and, thinks I, 



JOHN SENTER 177 

'Ef you keep up with me (I was a-hoein"' 
corn), youll not be fit to marry ('twas orful 
hot) soon.' s 

"The little feller catched holt of a hoe, 
and at it we went like a wliirlygust uv wood- 
peckers. I tell you the train-ile streamed 
out'n both on us ; but Sol buckled up ter 
me like a man. The thoughts o' marryin' 
steamed him up like a blowed-up bladder. 
It's anuff to say that we went it like blazes 
fur a whole day, and nuver did the 'squire 
have as many weeds killed in one day by 
two mortals, and one on 'um a little game- 
leg, taller-face, ill-begotten, turkey-trotten' 
creetur. 

"The work over, Sol he fixed his day, and 
axed me to his weddin', to come with the 
'squire. Says he, ' Come, and as I've showed 
you how I kin work, I'll show yer how I 
kin marry too ; and I'll show yer the pur- 
tyest gal in the whole face uv the Blue 
Hidge, ur in any o"* the knobs around about. ' 

"'Look out fur me,' says I, 'fur Bob 

Snipes nuver takes a banter from no one, 

man nur 'omun.' 

"The 'squire and me started tolluble 
H2 



178 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

yearly one mornin', intendin' to take ur time 
fur it in the cool uv the day. We had to 
walk, fur narry a man on God's green yeth 
could git to John Senter's a hossback, it 
is so shot up with hills and blocked wid 
fences. "We tuck right up Little Fish E,o ov- 
er (the 'squire lives on it, well as John) till 
we come to whar Maid Holder was a-plow- 
in\ and ding my skin ef he warn't a-plowin' 
in his shirt-tail, 'thout anuther thing on 
him, 'ceptin' his old greasy wool hat. Says 
Maid, 

" ' Give an account of yerselves. Whar's 
yer pass? What you trespassin' on my 
deadnin' fur? Whar you moseyin' to? 
Bob Snipes, what you dressed up in the 
week fur fine as the 'squire ? Speak, else 
I'll larrup you both,' 

"We had to satisfy the outdacious var- 
munt, and axed him to go with us. Says 
he, ' I'll go, ef you'll jist let me go as I am.' 
'In yer shirt-tail?' says I. 'Yes,' says he. 
' Not I, long as yer shirt-tail is, ' says I ; 
and it was one uv the most onconcionable 
long shirt-tails I uver seen. It come down 
a long gap below his knees. 



JOHN SENTER, 179 

"We left Maid gee-hawin' away, and 
piked on to John's. We went in, and thar 
sot John on a short-legged stool in the chim- 
bly corner, lookin' fur all the world like a 
man that had got out'n his bed wrong eend 
foremost that mornin'. He was sulky and 
ashy, I tell you. He hardly axed us to set 
down. The 'squire kep' axin' John ques- 
tions, to try to git him to spill some words, 
but his jaws were locked, as it were. Hollin 
and his darter was a-fixin' away, sorter like 
they was glad, but uvry now and then John 
kep' flingin' out some uv his slang at 'um 
'fur fixin"" so much fur them crij)pled cree- 
turs, that had 'bout as much business a-mar- 
ryin' as two 'possums.' 

"The 'squire he made him hush his foul 
jaw, but he sot watchin' Hollin and the lit- 
tle darter, and got madder and madder, 
swellin' like a bullfrog. Last he riz right 
smack up, and, says he, ' I wouldn't be a-fix- 
in' so much fur a couple uv ground-hogs, 
heffer-on-my-haslit ef I would.' He looked 
like he could a made a meal out'n a kag uv 
tenpenny nails, fur all the world. 

"He then moseyed off to a bed, and 



180 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES, 

drawed out from under it a whoppin' big 
gourd, with a great big corn-cob stopper in 
it. He sot it on the table, got a pewter cup, 
pulled out the stopper, and 'chug^ it went 
as it come out. I soon larned from the 
smell on it that it was apple brandy, and 
white-faced at that. He poured out a cup- 
ful, and gin it to the 'squire fust, who bussed 
the cup a little, and then I bussed it. John 
he bussed it, and kep' a-bussin' it wusser nur 
a man would a purty gal, till he got in a 
monstrus good humor. I was mighty glad 
to see the refect the ole white-face brandy 
had upon him, fur I was nation tired uv his 
snaps and snarls. 

" Jist as John had got in a good humor 
from bussin' Mrs. Whiteface, and had begun 
to spill his words right fast, we looked up 
the hill toward the Blue Ridge, and we sees 
Sol and Sally, dressed in thar best, a-comin' 
down the hill afoot, side and side, and the old 
lady a-traipin' along arter 'um, Sol throwin' 
his game leg round one way, from right to 
left, and Sal a-throwin' hern around t'other 
way, from left ter right. They kep' good 
time. Sal's mammy looked mighty loon- 



JOHN SENTER, lg3 

some bringin' up the rear. They came in, 
sat down, and John — ding him ! — peared to 
be as glad to see 'um as any on us. 

" Soon as they had blowed a little (it was 
dingnation hot), and had wijDed the train-ile 
out'n thar eyes, the 'squire he tied the Goug- 
in knot" (the Gordian knot, I suppose Bob 
meant), "and we all wished 'um much joy, 
John 'mong the rest. (I wanted to knock 
him down, arter doin' as he had done.) 
The corn-cob stopper was pulled out'n the 
gourd, 'chug,' agin and agin, and we kep' 
bussin' the pewter cup, and we chatted away 
like blackbirds, 'ceptin' the 'squire, with 'bout 
as much sense. 

"Dinner cumed next. The pot hadn't 
bin idle all the time ; it kep' bilin' away, 
pottle, wottle, pottle, wottle. Hollin she 
sot the table along side uv the bed, to sarve 
in the place uv chairs on one side, and a 
long bench on t'other side, and a short bench 
on each eend. It was one of these here 
cross-leg tables — none uv yer quality cuts. 
John Senter was none uv yer quality men ; 
he opposed and hated all quality idees ; nor 
would he 'low a quality dinner. He wouldn't 



134 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES, 

low but one dish, ef the 'squire was thar. 
He wouldn't have a pie, nur a puddin', nur 
nuthin' o' the sort. Hollin she tuck up the 
dinner, and ding my skin ef it warn't a sure- 
anuff dinner. Thar was a great big pewter 
dish full uv stewed chicken and rye dump- 
lin's, with chunks uv bacon mixed up, anuff 
to sorter season it. The rye dumplin's, some 
on 'um, was as big as corn-dodgers, and some 
on 'um, which the seasonin*' hadn't toch, was 
tough as whitleather, and you mout a knock- 
ed a bull down with 'um. But, howsomev- 
er, as Mrs. Whiteface, who dwelt in the 
gourd, had whettened our appetites, we done 
monstrus well. 

"When dinner was over, the 'squire and 
me thought fur decency's sake we wouldn't 
leave right oiF, so we sot a little while ; but 
we soon seen that John — ding him! — was 
a-gittin' monstrus onpatient. He kep' friv- 
itin' about. Mrs. Whiteface had died away 
in him, and, ding him ! he was too stingy to 
buss her any more, and the evil sjDerrit come 
on him agin. Last he walled up his eyes, 
and baAvled out, ' You Zack ! (his other son), 
you Zack ! ' ' Here ! ' says Zack. ' You go 



JOHN SENTER, 185 

and gear up that bull' (John allers plowed 
a bull ; he wouldn't hev a horse), ' and you 
go to plowin', and 111 go to hoein'. Heffer- 
on-my-haslit ef it'll do to be wastin' so much 
time a-weddinin'. ' 

"Arter this speech the 'squire and me 
left." 

And this is as much space as I can allow 
my old friend John Senter. If all his rich 
sayings and eccentric doings were written 
out, they would fill quite a volume. Now 
the rest of the acts of John Senter, all that 
he said and did, how he made wooden-bot- 
tomed shoes, how he worked in the harvest 
fields barefooted, how he lawed the people at 
the justice's courts, how he loved apple bran- 
dy, and danced the "double shuffle," etc., 
etc., are they not written in the memory of 
all who know him ? 

He has not yet slept with his fathers. 



IQQ FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 



XI.— REV. CHARLES GENTRY. 

I MUST not entirely omit the negroes, as 
some of them were men of renown. I have 
made honorable mention of "Gingy-cake 
Josh Easley." What the people would 
have done for "gingy- cakes" at their mus- 
ters and public gatherings I can not tell, had 
it not been for clever Josh. Josh was re- 
spected by all, white and black. His mas- 
ter moved to Missouri, and there Josh died. 
He used to keep us all alive singing corn 
songs at " corn-shuckings. " 

I could mention many good and clever ne- 
groes, but will only pay my respects to Rev. 
Charles Gentry. Charles was a Baptist 
preacher, and belonged to "Shelt Gentry." 
His master and mistress were Baptists, and 
Charles was quite a privileged character. 
Next to Bev. Pleasant Cocker, Charles stood 
highest in their estimation. He was not 
without "gifts," nor was he destitute of a 



REV. CHARLES GENTRY. Ig7 

proper amount of vanity. As to grammar, if 
he ever heard of it, he had no use for it, not 
he. His theology was not always sound, 
yet a good deal of it was quite original, as 
the two extracts from his sermons which I 
shall give the reader will abundantly prove. 
Rev. Charles had sl penchant for controversy, 
and was often running up against established 
views, and upsetting them by the force of 
his cataract voice and rail-mauling gestures, 
if not by argument. 

Naturalists have for ages been trying to 
account for the different forms and complex- 
ions of men. Some will have them to be of 
different races, not all descended from the 
same pair, Adam and Eve. Others contend 
that all have descended from the same pair, 
but climate and accidental causes have made 
the difference ; hence Professor A and Pro- 
fessor B have their diverse theories and their 
disciples and admirers. When men leave 
the plain teachings of the Bible and go into 
vague speculations, one man's hypothesis is 
nearly as good as another ""s. 



188 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 



THE ORIGIN OF THE WHITES. 

"^ I will now give my readers a new theory 
from the lips (for negroes do not write) of 
the Rev. Charles Gentry, and commend it to 
the consideration of Professor Agassiz and 
Dr. Nott. The Rev. Charles Gentry was 
" explanifying" to his "bredderin ob color*" 
how the first white man came into existence. 
He held forth on this wise : 

"Beloved bredderin, de white folks ar 
clean out of it when dey "'firm dat de fust 
man was a white man. I'm not a-gwine to 
hab any sich doctering. De fact is, Adam, 
Cain, Abel, Seth, was all ob 'um black as 
jet. Now you 'quire how de white man 
cum. Why, dis a-way. Cain he kill his 
brudder Abel wid a great big club — he walk- 
in'-stick — and God he cum to Cain, and say, 
' Cain ! where is dy brudder Abel T Cain 
he pout out de lip, and say, ' I don't know ; 
what ye axin' me fur ? I ain't my brudder 
Abel's keeper.' De Lord he gits in airnest, 
and stomps on de ground, and say, ' Cain ! 
you Cain ! whar is dy brudder Abel ? I 



REV. CHARLES GENTRY. I39 

say, Cain ! whar is dy brudder V Cain he 
turn white as bleach cambric in de face, and 
de whole race ob Cain dey bin white ebber 
since. De mark de Lord put on de face ob 
Cain was a white mark. He druv him inter 
de land ob Nod, and all de white folks hab 
cum frum de land ob Nod, jis"* as youVe 
hearn.'"' ^ 

V, JONAH AND THE WHALE. 

Some divines, to pacify infidels and skep- 
tics, and make, as they suppose, the Bible 
more acceptable to them, have a knack of 
explaining the miraculous truths of the Bi- 
ble on natural principles and according to 
the teachings of human wisdom, and their 
preaching and expositions are, to say the 
least of it, semi-infidelic. Bev. Charles Gen- 
try had heard one of those preachers some- 
where who explained all miracles according 
to natural sequences. Charles had any 
amount of ambition, and wished to show his 
"larnin'" in the same way. Accordingly, 
at his next appointment, he delivered a 
learned dissertation on Jonah and the whale. 
He held his audience "spellbound" for some 



190 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

time, but I can only give the narrative part 
of the able discourse. It was as follows : 

"Dearly beloved brudderin, dar is much 
said about dis Jonah and de whale business ; 
a heap a-spoutin' about it, tryin' to outspout 
de whale hisself ; but one half on 'um don't 
know what dey talkin' 'bout ; dis chile does, 
howsomeber, 'bout de whole matter. Den 
listen, dat ye may hear. Well, Jonah he 
tries to git away from de Lord, and he gits 
in a ship — a big un, too — and tinks dat is 
de place fur him ; but he miss him fur as ef 
he'd a burnt he shirt. Dar Jonah he lie 
snug in de ship as a flea under a nigger's 
shirt collar. But, bless you, brudderin ! de 
Lord he raise a mighty whirlygust, and de 
ship he rock to and fro like a drunkard 
man. De men dey guess what was de mat- 
ter, and dey cum and take Jonah by de nap. 
o' de neck and de hind part o' de britches, 
and swing him backuds and foruds ; last dey 
pitch him head foremost, co-souse^ inter de 
sea. 

"De whirlygust he stop right smack. 
But, bless de Lord ! whar Jonah ? A great 
big fish he cum up and lick him down like 



REV. CHARLES GENTRY. XQl 

salt — hardly a bug moufful fur sich a big 
whoppin feller. Jonah, when he gits down 
inter de paunch o' de fish, he squawks out, 
' O Lord, what hab I done T De fish he say, 
'Hush yer mouf!' And de fish he swim, 
swim, swim, and kep' a-swimmin', and Jonah 
he bawls out de same ting. De fish he gits 
more in airnest, and say, ' Hush yer mouf, I 
tell yer!' and on he swim, swim, swim, till 
he cum to de Luxine Sea, as de white folk 
call him, but I call him Black Sea, 'caze he's 
black as jet, like a nigger. 

"But pardon dis 'gression. 

"When de fish he gits inter de Persian 
Gulf, near de mouf ob de old Euphrates, 
Jonah he gits mighty restless, and cries out 
agin, ' O Lord, what hab I done T De fish 
he tell him to hush agin. No use ; Jonah 
he holler louder and louder. De fish no 
mind him. Now Jonah he hab mighty 
sharp finger-nails, and he use 'um good, I 
tell yer. He begin ter claw and scratch the 
fish's paunch, 'tarmined to git out'n dar. 
De fish he gits sick in de craw, and he swim, 
swim, swim right fur land, 'tarmined to throw 
him up to dry. And, sure 'nufF, he gin one 



292 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

great big hee-oh, and out cum Jonah right 
on de flat of he back on de bank. 

'' De Lord he say to him, ' Gwine to preach 
now, Jonah?' Jonah he say, 'Yes, Lord, 
dat I will !' and off he moseyed to Nineveh, 
and done some ob de biggest preachin' ye 
ubber hearn tell on. Dis, brudderin and 
sisterin, is de true varsion ob Jonah and de 
whale. All de rest is false, and rotten as 
mud." , 



FIGHTING. 193 



XII.— FIGHTING. 

JOSH JONES AND HASH-HEAD SMITH. 

Josh Jones and Hash-head Smith were 
both men of renown in this belligerent and 
romantic section. They made their mark 
upon their generation, in fist-fighting and 
scratching, if in nothing else. Josh had 
picked up a few Latin sentences and phrases, 
and could use them when he chose with 
great facility and dexterity. The people all 
hated " larnin' and college lingo," and 
though Josh's vernacular was no better than 
his neighbors' ; nevertheless, his borrowed 
Latin made him quite a "larned man." He 
had the art of having his comrades in a fine 
glee in one moment, and "all to ilindera- 
tions" the next, "fightin' rantankerus mad." 
He was the most popular and agreeable man 
in the crowd till his mischievous propensity 
forced him to blurt out, ^^ e pluribus unum,'''' 
''''ipse dixit^'^ ^^ sine qua non^'''' ^''sic transit 
I 



194 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

gloria mundi^'''' etc., and it was as if you had 
assaulted a ball-hornet's nest. 

Our friend Smith was a chunky, well-set, 
muscular man, with a large buffy head, so 
large and destitute of brains that Martin 
Falkner, a shrewd wag, gave him the name 
of "Hash-head Smith," though he was ver- 
itably John Smith. Hash-head differed from 
most fleshy men, who are said to be good- 
natured, for he was quite sensitive, ill-na- 
tured, and hated Josh's " dog Lating," as he 
termed his small stock of Roman. Josh 
Jones took great delight in teasing Hash- 
head. They were quite different men in 
most things, but in their love of old peach 
brandy they were "hail fellows well met." 

Now it came to pass, in the course of hu- 
man events, that both of our heroes had 
some business at Grayson Court-house, Vir- 
ginia, and on their return they called at the 
house of an old Quaker by the name of 
South, who, notwithstanding his rigid mor- 
als in most things, kept good brandies of all 
kinds, "perticler the best old peach on the 
face uv the yeth." They called for it, and, 
in the expressive language of Josh, who was 



FIGHTING. ]_95 

always graphic in speech — truly so when in- 
spired with "old peach"— they "smote it 
hip and thigh with the edge uv the sword, 
like unto Samson smitin' the plaguy Philis- 
tines at E,amoth-lehi with the jaw-bone of a 
jackass, as saith the book of Judges." 

Under the exhilarating influence of the 
Quaker's old peach. Josh soon began to roll 
out his Latin freely and fluently, and Hash- 
head "got ashy." But Josh intended to 
have some fun, and kept on. Hash-head 
considered himself degraded in the presence 
of the old Quaker and his wife by Josh's su- 
perior learning. He took it as a gross in- 
sult, and "walked into Josh right smack in 
old South's house. " I will let Josh describe 
the rest of the scene in his own style. 

"Now I were detarmined to wake up 
those two demure old Quakers, old Mr. and 
old Miss South, who sot thar, and would only 
say ' yea' and ' nay' to evry word I'd say to 
'um. They paid no more attention to my 
Lating than to a blackbird a-chatterin' ; so 
Hash-head I seen was my on'y chance. I 
kep' poking my old Roman at him thick and 
heavy, and he soon flew all to flinderations. 



196 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

But I salted him wusser and wusser, and the 
fust thing I knowed he struck me, co-diff^ 
right plum between the eyes, with his maul- 
bustin fist, quick as a ball -hornet, and 
sprawled me on the floor full length. I riz, 
and at it we went like blue blazes. We 
tuck it best six out'n eleven, upsettin' chairs, 
tables, and furniter of evry natur all over 
the house, hither and thither. The two old 
Quakers looked at us as though they blieved 
the sperrit uv the devil were turned loose, 
which were a fact, fur Quakers is disarners 
uv sperrit s. 

"I soon seen that Hash-head would git 
my note ef I didn't play some game on him, 
fur he were feedin' me in the short ribs in 
double quick time. I had seen before the 
scrimmage begun a big whoppin churn o' 
cream settin' on the ha'th by the fire, and the 
thought entered my pate, nolens volens, that 
I'd throw Hash-head by that churn o' cream, 
and turn it over in his face, and git out'n 
the scrape ef possible, fur I were shoved fur 
the rent. I made a desput grab, and we fell 
side and side by said churn jist norated, and 
I turned it over right smack in his face, co- 



FIGHTING. 197 

whollop, right in his eyes and mouth. This 
sine qua non had the desired effect. He 
broke his holt as quick as when you souse a 
bucket uv cold water on two bull-dogs 
a-fightin\ I jumped up, but thar lay Hash- 
head, lickin' out his tongue, fust on one side 
then on t'other, tastin' old Miss South's yal- 
ler cream. 

"The next thing I seen was old Miss 
South, with hands and eyes turned up to'ads 
the good world, which I reckon she were 
Vokin' the sperrits uv Fox, Barclay, and 
Penn to cum to her relief and take signul 
vengunce, Deo volente^ on me fur the loss uv 
her cream. And lest she mout be hearn, 
and fur fear Hash-head, arter he had got the 
cream out'n his eyes and mouth, and his bel- 
ly full on it, which he were hidin' it mighty 
fast, mout wade into me agin, I sloped, 
jumped on my hoss, darted down the Blue 
Ridge at the Blaze Spur, and was soon in 
good old Surry." 

BUTTING. 

Fighting in that section was a common 
occurrence. No pistols, knives, sticks, and 



198 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

cowardly weapons, such as are now used, 
were resorted to ; they scorned all such as 
beneath brave men. Only such weapons as 
Nature had given them would they use in 
attack and in defense. They would knock 
with their fists like a Milo, kick with their 
feet like a horse, bite like loggerhead turtles, 
^^ gouge like screw-augers, and butt like rams ; 
any method with the body was lawful. Bul- 
lies would keep their thumb-nails oiled and 
trimmed as sharp as hawk's claws. Ask 
them why, they would reply, 

"To feel fur a feller's eye-strings, and 
make him tell the news." 

As you passed houses going home from 
musters and public gatherings, those who 
did not go (and they were not numerous) 
would accost you thus : ' ' Who font to-day V 
If you replied, "No one," there was evi- 
dently a disappointment. As Johnson 
Snow believed and expressed it, "That a 
good deal uv shoutin' and groanin' went a 
great ways towards settin' off a meetin'," it 
Avas the common belief of that pugilistic 
people "that a great deal of knockin', kick- 
in', bitin', gougin', and buttin' went a good 



FIGHTING, 201 

ways towards settin' off a muster or public 
gathering." 

Sometimes a fight would come off at a 
"corn-shucking." On such an occasion Pey- 
ton Tally and Henry Muneas fell out and 
"font." It was a short fight, for they were 
no sooner stripped, in the "ring," and the 
word given, than Peyton backed a little, and 
went at Henry old ram or old goat fashion, 
full tilt, struck him in the stomach with his 
head, "laid him to the land," and had well- 
nigh made a "finish of him." The by- 
standers did not like such a short fight, and 
remonstrated with Peyton, who coolly re- 
plied, 

" 111 be dadsamped ef one good butt ain't 
wuth two knocks. It knocks the wind oufn 
you quick as thunder. Thar is great need 
fur the camphire bottle when you take it 
ram-fashion. Dadsamp ef his innards won't 
trouble him fur a 'coon's age. His Avife and 
chillun will har'ly know him when they see 
him. Hell not be so pot-gutted in the fu- 
tur, I reckon." 

I 2 



202 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 



A QUAETER-Or-A-DOLLAR FIGHT. 

Speaking of the foregoing hutting fight 
reminds me of a sharp fight between Sam 
Clark and Jim Smith, son of the renowned 
Hash-head Smith, about a quarter of a dol- 
lar — no more nor no less. 

The people in that region were scrupu- 
lously honest — more so than any section I 
have ever seen. They lived remote from 
commerce, with its corruptions, and there 
was not fleece enough in all the land for 
sharpers to come in to corrupt their morals. 
Not even a wooden-nutmeg Yankee could 
make any thing from off them. They knew 
nothing but downright honesty. A man 
who would not pay a debt to the amount of 
five cents was scouted and despised most 
cordially. A man was never known to 
"make over his property." He had to pay 
the "utmost farthing,"" else public sentiment 
collared him. If a man's honesty was im- 
peached, there was a fight, unless it was 
"taken back."" 

Now it came to pass in a settlement be- 



FIGHTING 203 

tween Sam Clark and Jim Smith there was 
a misunderstanding about a quarter of a dol- 
lar. At Shipp's Muster-ground, the "pot- 
ter's field" of that country, the subject was 
brought up for settlement while they were 
both pretty full of " knock-'em-stiff. " They 
couldn't settle it, and they " drawed thar lin- 
nin" to settle the important contest. Their 
friends hated to see them fight about so tri- 
fling a thing, and Miller W. Easley, a friend 
to both, offered to pay the quarter. But 
nay ; their honor was involved in it, and the 
honor of "thar chillun," and they were de- 
termined to settle it on the Fisher's Kiver 
field of honor (Shipp's Muster-ground), and 
with Fisher's River weapons. 

They made a ring, "moseyed" into it, and 
no cool man — one who had the least sym- 
pathy for his tabernacle — would have taken 
the knocks, kicks, bites, gougings, battings, 
etc., that were given and received by those 
two duelists for a trifle. After they had 
beaten each other into a "frozzle," and 
"inter mince-meat," they were parted by 
their "seconds," and, having vindicated 
their insulted honor, the matter was adjust- 



204 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

ed to the satisfaction of the belligerent he- 
roes. 

FIGHT ABOUT A KIPSKIN. 

Here follows an account of a fight farther 
illustrative of the foregoing. Josh Jones, 
who fought Hash-head Smith at the old 
Quaker's, in Grayson County, Virginia, was 
a tanner by trade, and "tanned on shares," 
as well as his own hides. Davis Holder, 
one of his customers, was a considerable bul- 
ly, and when a little "tight" boasted not a 
little of his manhood. Josh tanned a "kip- 
skin" for Davis "on shares," and there was 
a difficulty in their settlement some way. It 
became a serious affair, and Shipp's Muster- 
ground was the place of settlement. Davis 
brought it up, the ring was made, and the 
pugilistic party went into it. I will let 
Josh, in his graphic style, tell the rest of it. 

"I felt mighty skittish and jubus uv Da- 
vis, fur he was allers a-swaggerin', and ca- 
vortin', and boastin' about, tellin"' how many 
men he'd licked, and so on. But I were 
mad as ilugence, and didn't care a dried-ap- 
ple cuss whether I lived ur died. I jumped 



FIGHTING. 205 

into the ring; ^Verhum sat,' says I, and 
slapped my hands aginst my hips, and crow- 
ed like a game-rooster. In jumped Davis, 
and come full drive at me, like a fishin' hawk 
dartin' at a fish. I had no idee uv boxin' 
with him, fur his arms was long as May- 
poles. So I jist hipped him, and throwed 
him co-whollup — a desput fall on the hard 
yeth — on the flat uv his back, soused my eye- 
string feelers sock into his eyes, and he blated 
like a calf. Uncle Billy Norman pulled me 
off, who told Davis, who was talkin' 'bout 
tryin' it agin, 'I could lick him any day.' 
So that ended Davis's bullyin', puffin', and 
blowin' about his manhood." 



206 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 



Xm.— THE CONVERT. 

At Parson Bellow's night meetings it was 
not uncommon for persons "under convic- 
tion" to fall, and lie apparently dead for 
hours, and when they rose it was with a 
shout of triumph, "a clar and hopeful con- 
varsion." 

Parson Bellow held a good many of his 
night meetings in the "Hawks Settlement," 
east of the head of Stewart's Creek, not far 
from the Sugar-loaf Peak of the Blue Pidge. 
The Hawks generation was numerous, and, 
being much attached to each other and to 
their romantic section, they were never 
known to live far apart. The parson had 
held several meetings successfully for them 
at old Timothy Spencer's. It being a great 
country for apples, every man had a large 
orchard, and in the fall all the surplus ap- 
ples were distilled into brandy. Every man 
had at least one "bar'l" a year. Timothy 



THE CONVERT. 207 

Spencer had one "barl," and kept it in his 
house behind the door. When the door 
opened the "barT' was concealed behind it. 

Sol Hawks had seen this barrel for weeks 
at the various night meetings, and had used 
it for a seat during service. Instead of list- 
ening attentively to the parson's sermons, 
he was all the time thinking of the " innards 
uv the barl," the temptation was so great. 
His mouth watered not a little for some of 
the "good critter." While the "sarvices" 
had been going on, the crafty Sol had ascer- 
tained that the "bung" of the "barT' could 
be worked out. But what of that ? He 
could not get at the delicious contents. It 
was vexatious to Sol. He couldn't stand it. 

Next meeting Sol took a quill, and man- 
aged to take the same seat. While prayer 
and other services were going on, in which 
.the attention of the audience was directed in 
another way, Sol got the "bung" of the bar- 
rel out, thrust in his quill, and drank it down 
as a thirsty man does water. He took too 
much, for, just as the benediction was pro- 
nounced, Sol, attempting to rise, fell heavily 
on the floor. 



208 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

The excitement was intense. The women 
shouted aloud, the men groaned in spirit, all 
supposing that the power of grace had done 
the deed — had felled that sturdy oak of Ba- 
shan, that tall cedar of Lebanon. 

"Bless the Lord !" exclaimed Parson Bel- 
low. "I thort I'd done no good here to- 
night — hadn't cast the net on the right side 
— ^that the wheels uv Zion was clogged ; but 
hallaluyer ! the Lord allers comes at a time 
when we ain't lookin' fur him. Glory ! glo- 
ry ! ! Bruthering and sisters, sing a mighty 
sperritul hyme, and lift up yer hearts in 
prayer. This feller has bin a-standin' it out 
fur a long time, but the power what fotched 
down Saul uv Tarshish has flung him at 
last — glory ! " 

The ' ' hyme" was sung, fervent prayer of- 
fered, but there lay Sol speechless and seem- 
ingly lifeless. 

" Bruthering," said the parson, "yer faith 
is too weak. Ef you'd joray in airnest, with 
a strong faith, he'd be convarted afore you 
could cry ' 'cavy. ' " 

Prayer was oifered again and again, but 
there lay Sol helpless as ever. Other tac- 



THE CONVERT. 209 

tics must be used, and the parson was rich 
in expedients. He went to Sol, and told 
him what to do, "to give up," etc. 

"But, Sol," continued he, "don't shout 
too quick. Git religion good, Sol. I know 
these Hawks. They needs a heap uv relig- 
ion, and you, Sol, have bin monstrous bad. 
Religion is mighty good truck to have, Sol. 
YouVe sinned enough to fill Noah's ark 
chug to the brim. I'm afeered you'll fall 
from grace ef you shout too soon, Sol." 

Thus he continued, pounding away on 
Sol's back with both hands every now and 
then, as though he would maul religion into 
him with his stentorian voice and herculean 
fists. At last he interrogated Sol thus : 

"Sol, how do you feel, old feller? Do 
you feel like you was a poor lost creetur ? a 
messuble sinner, lost and ondone V 

"Ah me!" groaned Sol, "I don't know. 
I feels mighty curious. My head is gwine 
round and round, and a ringin' in my ears 
sorter like tizzerrizzin ! tizzerrizzin ! " 

"Pray harder, Sol," replied the parson; 
"you ain't half a-prayin'. You'll nuver git 
religion prayin' that snail fashun. But 



210 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

take care, Sol, and don't shout too soon. 
Be mighty keerful on that pint, Sol. Bruth- 
ering and sisters, one and all, sing that good 
old sperritul hyme, 

" ' Show pity, Lord ; O Lord, forgive ; 
Let a repentin' rebul live ;' 

and pray while you sing, like you'd take 
heaven by storm. Who knows but what 
your prayers mout be hearn V 

That "hyme" and several others were 
sung, and several prayers offered, but there 
lay the stubborn Sol, the tall cedar of Leb- 
anon. The parson thought it was time to 
catechize him again, to see their success — to 
see whether "thar prayers was hearn." 

"Sol," he asked, "how do you feel now, 
old feller? Do you feel like you love the 
Lord and his people, poor soul ?" 

"Ah! Lord, I don't adzackly know. I 
feels almighty curious. I'm almost 'swaded 
I does." 

" Bruthering and sisters," said the parson, 
"my stars and lovely garters, ef he ain't 
convarted now, ef he jist knowed it. He 
jist needs a little more faith. Rise up, Sol, 
and shout, and youll feel happy. Bruther- 



VHE CONVERT. 211 

ing, it ain't wuth while to be stayin' here; 
it's arter midnight ; let's go "home. " 

Sol got up, rubbed his eyes a little, step- 
ped out, and went home, but he never 
shouted. 



212 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 



XIV.— NOT A TRAVELER. 

John Snow, son of Hail Snow, I believe, 
was "not a traveler." He indignantly re- 
pelled the idea; "he paid his way through 
thick and thin, and no thanks to nobody." 

It came to pass that John Snow and oth- 
ers went a trip some distance with wagons. 
There were no lucifer matches then, and at 
night, when they "tuck up," some one would 
have to go for fire to the nearest house. 

But here I must run off into digression to 
show what the people carried to market in 
those days. It was not whisky and brandy, 
for they hardly made enough for home con- 
sumption. ' ' Things got nation dry" in sum- 
mer before apple brandy came in to their re- 
lief. It was not "tar, pitch, and tarpin- 
tine, " for there was but little pine there, and 
it was short-leafed and poor. Nor was it 
corn, wheat, and rye, for they were "allers 



NOT A TRAVELER. 213 

mighty scace" before a new "crap" came in. 
What then ? Why, butter, flaxseed, chest- 
nuts, chinkapins, Irish potatoes, and tobac- 
co. These Avere the main staples. Sam 
Lundy always added a few items of his own 
to the above when he "sloped" to market; 
"wannit goody," "hickVy-nut goody," and 
"haze-nut goody." 

As stated, with such a load as the forego- 
ing, except Sam Lundy's, Avho had a clear 
field in his own line, John Snow and com- 
pany camped near a very fine house, and 
John was sent to the house to get fire. He 
went to the door, made application for the 
fire, and the lady — a very polite one, doubt- 
less — asked him to come in and be seated. 

"I'm too dirty," replied John, "to come 
inter as fine a room as yours is ; I'd ruther 
stand. " 

" Oh ! never mind, good sir ; travelers 
can not keep their clothing clean like parlor 
folks." 

"I ain't no traveler, marm," said John; 
"I pays my own way. " (John thought she 
meant traveling beggars.) 

"Very well, sir," replied the lady, "you 



214 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

are right. Be seated till the servant brings 
the fire." 

John was pacified, and took his seat in a 
fine parlor, on a splendid Windsor chair, till 
the fire came. He returned and reported 
the whole adventure to his company. 

"I tell you, boys, with my dirty britches 
I sot right smack in one o"" the finest Weas- 
ler chairs you uver seen in all yer borned 
days, and my big, mud-bustin, pis-ant-killin' 
shoes on thar fine carpet looked like two 
great big Injun coonoes. Ill be poxed ef 
I knowed how to hold my hands nur feet." 



Mt'' ¥}h 




THE WINDSOE CHAIR. 



COOKING, BIG EATING, ETC. £17 



XV.— COOKING, BIG EATING, ETC. 

You may expect, in a healthy country like 
that, there would be big eaters. Stout, 
healthy men must eat accordingly. Their 
food was plain and simple — no highly sea- 
soned viands to destroy the stomach and pro- 
duce dyspepsia. Whether a French cook 
was better than a Fisher's Hiver cook they 
knew not, nor did they care a chestnut. So 
they got their bacon and cabbage, chicken 
soup and pot-pies, Irish potatoes and hom- 
iny, and their buckwheat pancakes, tarts, 
and puddings, by way of dessert, all was well. 
A good appetite supj)lied the rest. A few 
families (called the "quality") could afford 
coffee once a week, only colored at that. All 
their " sweetnin' " was honey, of which there 
was great abundance, and the best in the 
world. Sugar and molasses were never used ; 
they could not be afforded. Black ' ' Gingy- 
cake Josh Easley" was the only man that 
K 



218 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

used molasses,^ and where he procured it I 
can not tell. I never saw any till I left that 
country in my nineteenth year. No "change 
of course" at their tables ; substantials, des- 
sert, pastry, and all went on the same table, 
using the same plates. 

Their gatherings were frequent, as previ- 
ously intimated. One neighbor would help 
another harvest his grain, taking it in turn 
till they were all through. Corn-shuckings 
were conducted in the same way ; nor could 
a man clear a piece of ground without invit- 
ing his neighbors, and having a "clearin\" 
They "swopped work." They were pre-em- 
inentlv social. At such gatherino-s and 
workings, all hands would sit down to a 
long table, and the first dish they "moseyed 
into" was soup. Large pewter basins full 
of soup were placed along the table at a con- 
venient distance, and several pewter spoons 
were placed in each basin. They "waded 
inter it"— never dipped it out — all that could 
reach in the same basin. Shadrach Frank- 
lin played a prank on ' ' Long Jimmy Thomj)- 
son" over a basin of soup once. Shadrach 
was the first man who dipped his spoon into 



COOKING, BIG EATING, ETC. £19 

the smoking basin, and it burned his mouth 
awfully; but he resolved to have his fun, 
and bore it without a frown. "Long Jim- 
my," a big eater, asked him, " Shadrach, is 
the soup in good kelter?" "Yes," was the 
serious reply. Long Jimmy tried it, and 
unceremoniously spirted it out all over the 
table, producing a soup rainbow. All right ; 
a hearty laugh was full compensation for the 
shower of saliva and soup. 

I have said Long Jimmy Thompson was 
a big eater. He was the Milo of Mitchell's 
River, and Mose Cackerham was the Max- 
imius of Fisher's River. Once, at a gather- 
ing, Long Jimmy let in on a large tray of 
hog's feet that was set on a table. He made 
such havoc of them, and the bones fell so 
fast on the floor, that it provoked Lark Can- 
nady to blurt out, 

" Hello w. Uncle Jimmy, you hull out 
bones faster nur a cotting-gin can shell out 
cotting-seed, a nation sight. You kin beat 
a whole cotting-pickin' uv huming beings all 
holler." 

But Long Jimmy paid no more attention 
to this witty gibe than a hungry cur would 



220 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

to a gnat. At a reaping at Uncle Billy 
Norman's, Mose Cackerham ate up the back- 
bones of several hogs, and their joles. The 
bones kept falling on the floor with such 
force and noise that Dick Snow exclaimed, 

"Dang it. Uncle Mose, ef your bones 
don't fall as hard on the floor as ears o' corn 
on the floor of a empty corn-crib at a corn- 
shuckin', and nearly as fast. By jingo ! I 
Avouldn't feed you fur all yer wuck. You'd 
'duce a famine in a man's smoke-house mighty 
quick. " 

A tinker was about the first man I re- 
member to have seen. He was an indispens- 
able in that section — as much so as Prince 
Knock-'em-stifl". A tinker, in that honest re- 
gion, needed not the name of a John Bunyan 
to make his fraternity respectable ; he was a 
man of distinction, and honorable. Pewter 
cupboard ware was all the go. The tinker 
made it his business once a year to visit ev- 
ery family to remould their broken pewter 
ware. We had pewter basins, dishes, plates, 
spoons, etc. Our cups were tin mostly; 
some were pewter ; but few men had plain 
delft-ware; china was unknown. Of "yeth- 



COOKING, BIG EATING, ETC. 221 

en ware" there were crocks, jugs, and jars, 
which are essential every where. Major 
Oglesby, a man of some wealth, "one of the 
quality, " had the finest delft known. It was 
a great curiosity to the "natives," and much 
talked of every where. When his plain 
neighbors visited him they were much em- 
barrassed to know how to use it. 

Uncle Frost Snow, William Golding, and 
others went to the "major's" to take a hunt. 
At meal milk was served in tea-cups — glass 
was then not used, not even by the major — 
and Uncle Frost, not knowing how to han- 
dle a tea-cup, turned it over, and spilled the 
milk on a fine table-cloth. 

"Dang it, major," said Uncle Frost, "I 
wish you'd a gi'n me a tin cup, then I'd a 
knowed how to a used him. I ain't no 
quality no how. You can't make a quality 
man out'n me. I'm nobody but Frost Snow, 
from old Fudginny." 



222 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 



XVI.— A DECLARATION OF LOVE. 

The young men did their courting almost 
entirely by word of mouth. Their "edica- 
tion" was very poor, and they did not like 
to expose their "ignunce" by a love-letter. 
Sometimes a very bashful fellow, deeply 
smitten with love, would give vent to his 
feelings in a letter. I have been quite for- 
tunate in securing one of these letters. I 
pledge my word, and can prove it, that the 
following is an exact copy from the original, 
not a word nor a letter altered. The free 
use of capitals is to be ascribed to the 
writer's deep feeling. But I will not com- 
ment. Here is the letter, leaving names 
out : 



"Dear Miss I seat Myself To Let you 
Know My Heart Desire This Very Day, 

God Know That I Dow Love you P 

F And I Have you if you Will Mee, 



A DECLARATION OF LOVE. 223 

And- 1 want you To write To Mee as soon 
as This come to Hand, And give Me satis- 
factions one way or other, God Know at 
This Time Which way you will give, God 
sed in His Word First Seak The Kingdom 
of Hevin and all His Hiches shall Be Added 
on, And I Beliave you Love Mee, And I 
Guv you the First Time I Ever Thought! 

And Whare it wase at, Mr F s at Me- 

tin. And I tell Why I Thout Sow, For 
Actions speaks Louder Than Words withe 
Mee, And I Write you A few Loines To 
Tell you The Truth, When I was Layin on 
my Death bed* I Thought of you Moor than 
Evry Body Else Well P F I Nev- 
er Told my Bisness in any Manner But I 
Hinted To you one Time And you Nuver 
stutteredf one Bit But Turned Very Bed 
And Sed you Was Going to Uncles And 
you Hav not Gon Before you MarriedJ 
And I Drop The Subjick For God Sed in 



* He had just recovered from a severe illness, and was so 
carried away with the subject he writes as though he had 
died. 

f The young lady had a stoppage in her speech. 

% Here I am at a loss for his meaning ; but it is in the copy. 



224 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

His Word Forsak Father And Mother And 
Cleeve Untoo They Own Wife And if All 
The Twigs was Pens And the Rivers was 
ink And I Had the Fingers To use them I 
Codent Moore Than Describe The Love 
That I Have for You* And I Come A pur- 
pass To Know The Other Time I ware 
whether My Desires could Be Accomplished 
ore not And I considered I Better Wait 
Till I See Whether I Got Well ore not I 
Am not The Man I was Before But I am 
Soutf as Ever and Feels as well But it is 
Gods Blessin that I am Writin this Day. 

"I Want You Read This With A feeling 
Hart And Tell Mee of your Situations That 
Time Ef God Had call When You in Sick- 
nessj And whether You Had That Hope 
Of Meetin your Sister ore Not in Etteer- 
nity ore Not or in Heven. I Say So That 
I have a Hope of Meetin My Three Little 
Brothers if I am Faithful For They Are 

* She was a hard-hearted girl, else she would have been 
won by this eloquent passage. 

f Here again I am at a loss for his meaning ; but I am bound 
to follow copy. 

X The young lady had been sick ; and had previously lost a 
sister. 



A DECLARATION OF LOVE. £26 

sure And They are All That are sure And 
I waunt you To consider That Satisfaction 
is wuth All And I am A poore Man But 
That Dont Hender Mee from Loving you 
But I waunt you To Consider That Beligion 
is "Wuth all I Say Farewell if I Never See 
you Know Moor I Hope To Meete You in 
Heven Whare Evry secret of Hart shall Bee 
judged And you Know Then That I am 
Tellin Thee Truth And I Say To You That 
You Are older A nuff To Marry Ef you 
Ever expect To For I Say it is every body s 
Duty To Marry if They can Suit Theirself 
And I Say That I can Sute Myself if you 
Say Sow And I have Hearn Folks Say That 
Love was Stronger Than Deth And I Say 
That it is So For when I Thout Cold 
Home* I Thout of you And I Druther See 
you And any Body else And I Say To you 
if you Turn your Face from Mee That you 
Turn yourself from the Dearest And I want 
you To write To Mee And Tell if What I 
Have Bit Dont Take Why is The Beason 

* Here again I am in the dark ; but I am not at liberty to 
alter. Copy must be followed to the letter. I set out to be a 
faithful copyist, and the reader has the result. 

K2 



226 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

And I Say To You if "What I Have Writ 
to Dont for Godsake write To Mee And 
Keturn This May God Bless you Sow Fare- 
well E. H. S. 
"ToP F 

"N.B. You Muss souse bad Writin and 
Spillin" 



GLASSEL AND THE OWL. £27 



XVn.— GLASSEL AND THE OWL. 

V 
A Scotchman, named Glassel, came on a 

bee-line from the "old country,*" and halted 
not till he arrived at the foot of the Blue 
Ridge Mountains in Virginia. He rested a 
few days, took his gun, and went into the 
deep gorges of the mountain hunting. While 
he was in one of those deep gorges, the hab- 
itation of owls, the old king owl of the gorge 
"let off" in trumpet tones. 

Glassel had never heard the like, nor had 
he seen the like, when he looked up into a 
tree and saw that large head, those big bright 
eyes, and that grave, intelligent countenance. 
His excited imagination supplied the rest. 
"That," thought he, "is some enchanted or 
metamorphosed human being — no ordinary 
one at that — the work of some wicked spirit." 
His fruitful imagination gave it an intelli- 
gent speech, and made it speak to him in 
this inquisitive manner : 



228 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

Owl. Hoo-hoo-hoo-who are you ? 

Glassel. My name is Glassel, sir, at your 
service. 

Owl. Hoo-hoo-hoo-who are you ? 

Glassel. I say, sir, my name is Glassel ; 
and, if I might be so bold, what is your 
name ? 

Owl. Hoo-hoo-hoo-who are you ? 

Glassel. I say, sir, my name is Glassel, 
and if you'll let me alone I will you. 

And Glassel left. , 

A 



ONE OF THE PEOPLE. £29 



XVni.— ONE OF THE PEOPLE. 

X 

I ONCE lived near a town where a friend of 
mine named King often went, and he would 
uniformly stay all night with me. He lived 
in St. Clair County, Alabama, and by staying 
with me he accomplished two objects : he 
< saved his bill (an important item with him) 
and enjoyed my company, of which he 
seemed very fond. He was a quiet, harm- 
less creature, and the only injury he ever did 
me was the loss of my time in keeping him 
company. The only pay I could get out of 
him was to tease him a little. 

We have no right to raise the question 
why a wise and sovereign Being has made 
some seemingly bad jobs, physically and in- 
tellectually. They belong to the great fam- 
ily of man, and fill some important sphere, 
if we could see it. Though you may regard 
them as nothing more than hores^ not so with 
the sovereign Maker and Disposer. Now 



230 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

my friend King was what some would call, 
in the process of man-making, an intellectual 
failure. Here, reader, is the proof. In 
1848, when General Taylor was nominated 
for the presidency, Friend King called on me, 
and, after salutations, inquiry was made aft- 
er the news of the day. 

Author. What is the ncAvs in St. Clair, 
Mr. King? 

King. Right smart. 

Author. Very well, what is it ? 

King. Well, thar's a man over thar run- 
nin' fur President. 

Author. Who? 

King. I bleeve they call him Ginnerl 
Taylor. 

Author. Where did you say he lived ? 

King. Over in the back part of St. Clair, 
ur a little beyant. 

Author. Is he running pretty Avell ? 

King. He is that. I bleeve he's a-gwine 
ter be elected. Nairly all St. Clair's a-gwine 
fur him. 

Author. What! old Democratic St. Clair 
going for General Taylor ? But who is this 
man General Taylor, any how? 



ONE OF THE PEOPLE. 231 

King. Why, hain't you hearn on him? 
He's a-bin lickin' out the Maxicans fur some 
time, over thar a leetle beyant St. Clair. 

Author. Are you for Taylor — as good a 
Democrat as you f 

King. I ain't that ! not becaze I'm a 
Dimmicrat, but on anuther account. Sich 
a man can't git my vote. 

Author. Why not ? 

King. Hain't you hearn what he done to 
the Maxicans over thar at a big spring? 
Now I ain't no friend to the Maxicans, but 
they ought to be font farly and be licked out 
farly, and not treated in sich a onhuman 
way. Now ef Ginnerl Taylor had a font 
'um far, and had a licked 'um up like a cow 
a-lickin' salt, I wouldn't a kearn ; but the 
way he done it he can't git my vote. 

Author. How did he do it ? 

King. Thar warn't but one spring o' wa- 
ter in all the country, and Ginnerl Taylor 
got possession o' that, and wouldn't let the 
Maxicans have one drap o' water, which was 
onhuman. Last the Maxicans couldn't 
stand it no longer, and come runnin' to the 
spring, like thirsty oxen arter water, and 



232 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

Ginnerl Taylor shot 'um down like he would 
deer. Sich a onhuman man can't git my 
vote fur dog-pelter. 

Author. Any more news ? 

King. Nothin', on'y I'm gwine to leave 
Alabama, and a-gwine to Georgy. 

Author. Why so ? 

King. Taxes is too high ; break me up ; 
can't nur won't stand it. 

Author. What is your annual tax ? 

King. Seventy-five cents. Poll-tax ain't 
but fifty cents in Georgy. 

Reader, this man is one of the sovereigns 
of the country. He is a King ; the only 
tyrant that ever ruled over him was PoU- 
,; tax. He got rid of twenty-five cents of the 
'i tyranny of King Poll-tax by moving to 
< "Georgy," where he is doubtless congratu- 
lating himself on the economy of his remov- 
al. Should these lines ever fall under his 
eye, he will see that they are "according to 
Gunter. " 



A CALL TO THE MINISTRY, 



XIX.— A CALL TO THE MINISTRY. 

I HAVE no doubts as to a call to the Chris- 
tian ministry. I concede all that is claimed 
for it by intelligent orthodox Christians ; 
but as to the "call" contained in the story 
below I shall not decide. My business is to 
detail facts. 

Somebody is always telling stories about 
the "Hard-shell Baptists."" Wags have the 
run on them, and they may as well be con- 
tent and bear it. Here follows a tale told 
of them not long since. My informant lo- 
cates it in the mountains of North Carolina, 
where the Hard-shells are quite numerous, 
and where they believe pretty strongly in 
dreams and voices. In the important mat- 
ter of a call to the ministry, a dream or a 
voice is a thing almost indispensable. 

Now it came to pass that a man by the 
name of Walker felt himself considerably 
moved to "hold forth,'' and kept "spread- 



234 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

ing the fleece," Gideon-like, to ascertain his 
duty in the important premises. To assist 
him in his pious investigations, he called at 
a still-house one evening to get some of the 
"good critter."" After refvesliment^ the sto- 
ry runs, he left for home, and on the way he 
felt "moved" to go into a thick grove a few 
hundred yards from the road, " thar to wras- 
tle on the subjeck." While he was "wras- 
tlin' " most earnestly, scarcely outdone by 
the patriarch, some one passed the road with 
a long-eared animal, politely called a John 
Donkey, and John let off, as his race is wont 
to do sometimes, in a most moving and thrill- 
ing manner. 
/^ Walker's imagination, by his earnest 
"wrastlin'," was wrought up to great in- 
tensity, and he converted Major John's dis- 
cordant music, which to most men resembles 
the filing of a saw-mill saw, into a call from 
heaven urging him to preach the Gospel. 
No time was to be lost. He rose from his • 
knees duly commissioned, went to his church, 
and demanded a license, when the pastor in- 
terrogated him thus : 

Pastor. Do you believe, Brother Walker, 



A CALL TO THE MINISTRY. 235 

that you are called of God to preach, "as 
was Aaron V 

Walker. Most sartinly I does. 

Pastor. Give the Church, that is, the 
bruthering, the proof. 

Walker, I was mightily diffikilted and 
troubled on the subjeck, and I was detarm- 
ined to go inter the woods and wrastle it 
out. 

Pastor. That's it, Brother Walker, 

Walker. And while there wrastlin', Ja- 
cob-like, I hearn one ov the curiousest voices 
I uver hearn in all my borned days. 

Pastor. You are on the right track, 
Brother Walker. Go on with your nora- 
tion. 

Walker. I couldn't tell for the life ov 
me whether the voice was up in the air ur 
down in the sky, it sounded so curious. 

Pastor. Poor creetur! how he was diffi- 
kilted. Go on to norate. Brother Walker. 
How did it appear to sound unto you ? 

Walker. Why, this a-way : "Waw-waw- 
Jcer — waw-waw-^er f Go preach, go preach, 
go preach, go preach-ee, go preach-ah, go 
preach-uh, go preach-ah-ee-uh-ah-ee.'''' 



236 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

Pastor. Brutliering and sisters, that's the 
right sort of a call. Enough said, Brother 
Walker. That's none ov yer college calls, 
nor money calls. No doctor ov divinity uver 
got sich a call as that. Brother Walker must 
have license, fur sartin and fur sure. 

The license was granted, the story goes, 
and Walker is now, doubtless, making the 
mountains ring with his stentorian lungs. 



OUTDONE. 237 



XX.— OUTDONE. 

It is difficult to beat an experienced man 
at his own game ; it sometimes happens, 
however. Methodist preachers — and no 
harm is intended — have ever been fond of 
excitement at their religious meetings. The 
extremes at such meetings are allowed for 
the sake of the overbalance of good which 
is accomplished. It will not do, they con- 
tend, to check extravagances in shouting and 
crying, for fear of doing harm to those prop- 
erly exercised. 

An "old stager" in camp-meetings once 
told me of an incident which clearly outdid 
him. He had encountered many camp-meet- 
ing scenes which were "hard pills,'' but he 
stood up to them all with a good grace, ex- 
cept this one. 

He and an old yoke-fellow, his story goes, 
held a camp-meeting in rather a rude section, 
where all the ideas of the people had come 



238' FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

to them in a ludicrous and crude fonn. 
They were Nature's children, and easily ex- 
cited, and they had quite "a stir." In their 
prayers for mercy, prompted by their con- 
victions of sin, they used the common lan- 
guage and imagery of the country, and they 
used the same vernacular and imagery in 
their shouts of triumph. 

The meeting waxed hotter and hotter from 
the beginning, and on Sunday night it "boil- 
ed clean over." My friend, the narrator, 
stated that the "altar" was full of "mourn- 
ers" and "new converts." He concluded he 
would go into the "packed crowd," and see 
what they were doing. He entered, and 
found one man sitting flat on the ground, 
in great distress, swinging his head back and 
forward, crying for mercy in the following 
earnest manner : 

" Jeeminny! O Jeeminny! what shall I 
dot" Rising from his seat, and going 
through the crowd for the woods, he contin- 
ued: "Jeeminny Crimony! O Jeeminny 
Crimony! have massy on me, a poor mis- 
suble cuss of a sinner ! " 

My friend let him go scooting for the 



OUTDONE. 239 

woods, and continued his travels a little far- 
ther, and found a distressed woman seated 
in the same manner, and putting up her pe- 
titions very pathetically thus : 

"0-yes Moses! 0-yes Moses, Moses! 
what shall I do? 0-yes Moses, Moses! 
have massy on me, a poor devil ov a cree- 
tur!" 

"No better fast," thought my friend, and 
he passed on beyond the "mourners'" to see 
how it was going with the "young con- 
verts." He did so, and heard them interro- 
gate each other as to their hopes and pros- 
pects. It ran as below,; 

"How do you feel, Sister A ? Are 

you traveling purty fast to Caanian V 
■*> "Five hundred miles ahead ov any thing 
on this grit ! Gloree ! gloree ! Thar ain't 
nothin' on yeth to be compared unto it — 
honey, shugar, sweetnin' ov ev'ry kind, ash- 
cakes, cracklin' bread, corn dumplin's, bis- 
cuits, pot-pies, poun'-cakes — pshaw ! I won t 
compare any thing yethly with it." 

My friend by this time was fast becoming 
nervous, but concluded he would move on- 
ward a little farther, and encountered two 



240 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

other happy spirits, and heard their ques- 
tions and answers, which, put in "prent," 
stand thus : 

"How do you feel, Sister B ?" 

"Happee! happee! Yes, horse-fly, I m 
happy, horse-fly, certain — happy as a 'pos- 
sum up a 'simmon-tree ur a 'coon in a hol- 
ler. Glory ! gloree ! " 

This was the last dose my friend could 
bear. He went to his brother preacher, who 
had seen similar sights, and had heard the 
like sounds, and proposed to dismiss the 
meeting for the night, which was readily 
agreed to, and both gjcknowledged themselves 
outdone for once. 



STRAW! STRAW! MORE STRAW HERE! 241 



XXI.— STRAW! STRAW! MORE STflAW 
HERE ! 

A DENOMINATION of Christians is not to be 
blamed and held responsible for the bad con- 
duct, freaks, and eccentricities of a few of 
its members. They all have their "black 
sheep" — freakish and eccentric members. 
The Methodist and Baptist, being the larg- 
est denominations, and having more to do 
with the masses, of course have more of the 
above-named material, hence some rather lu- 
dicrous and amusing scenes sometimes occur 
at their meetings. It is but charitable and 
right to conclude that all the parties are in 
sober earnest, even in their strangest freaks. 
It is their way of doing things. 

These things being premised, I proceed to 
my straw story. 

Somewhere in Middle Tennessee, in the 
past, a Methodist camp-meeting was held, 
L 



242 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

and, while all the tents were good and well 
supplied with straw (a very necessary thing 
in tents and arbors), the arbor, and particu- 
larly the altar, had not been well provided 
with the article. Things dragged pretty 
heavily till Sunday night. There had 
been plenty of straw for Avhat few "seek- 
ers" had come into the altar up to that 
time; but on Sunday night the preacher 
"cast the net on the right side," and scores 
came up, the altar Avas crowded, and what 
little straw was in the altar was occupied, 
and the others had to take the ground or 
stand up. 

There was an old "amen" Methodist, of 
the old "shad-belly coat" tribe (now ex- 
tinct). He saw the sad state of things, be- 
came nervous, and roared out at the top of 
his cataract voice, drowning the singing, ex- 
hortations, shoutings, every thing — 

"Straw! straw! straw here! Bruthren, 
more straw here! A hundred souls lost 
here to-night for the want of straw! Run 
to the tents and fetch straw, else the blood 
of souls will be required of you ! Straw, 
you careless souls ! straw here ! You mout 



STRAW! STRAW! MORE STRAW HERE' 243 

a had straw anough at fust, O ye of little 
faith!" 

He gave them no rest till the straw was 
brought ; but how the thing went the depo- 
nent saith not. 



244 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 



XXn.— TARE AND TRET: AN ALABAMA 
TALE. 

( This is a rule in all our arithmetics, which 
originated in commerce, and for the benefit 
of commercial men. Tare^ in commerce, 
means the allowance or abatement of a cer- 
tain weight or quantity from the weiglit or 
quantity of a commodity sold in a cask, 
chest, bag, or the like, which the seller makes 
to the buyer on account of the weight of 
such cask, chest, or bag ; or the abatement 
may be on the commodity sold. Ti^et^ in 
commerce, means an allowance to purchas- 
ers, for waste or refuse matter, of four per 
cent, on the weight of commodities. 

Now it isn't every body that understands 
these commercial rules, and I shall not stop 
to discuss the justness of them. I vouch for 
the above definitions, for they are taken ver- 
hatiin from Webster. But all men do not 
see Webster nor our arithmetics, nor do they 



TARE AND TRET: AN ALABAMA TALE, 245 

' ' cipher'' as far as ' ' Tare and Tret. " " Thar 
ain't no use in cipherin' as fur as that, " says 
the uneducated farmer. 

On account of this neglect, a one-cotton- 
bale man, of Butler County, Alabama, got 
"sloshin mad" in Greenville, the capital of 
said county. 

About the time the Montgomery and Pen- 
sacola Railroad reached Greenville, a cop- 
peras-breeches, piny-woods man "druv" into 
town with his bale of cotton, well packed 
and "neat as a pin,"" and wished to make it 
buy a great variety of things — a little of the 
"good critter"' among the rest. He soon 
found a purchaser, for cotton was bearing a 
good price. The cotton was weighed, the 
money was "forked over," and a small de- 
duction made for the " tare. " 

One-bale. Tar ! whar the devil is thar 
any tar on it ? Thar warn't a tar-bucket in 
a mile of the gin-screw. 

Merchant. Hold still, friend; we mer- 
chants always deduct a certain amount for 
the tare, Avhich is to indemnify us against 
loss by the attachment of extraneous matter 
to the bales. 



246 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

One-bale. Bull and Injens ! The devil 
you do ! By lioky ! thar ain't no tar nur 
any o' yer extranus matter on it. It's jist 
as clean as tlie old 'oman's bed-quilt. You 
can't swindle this boy; he's walked too 
many chalk-lines fur that. 

Merchant. I tell you, friend, the tare 
must be deducted. Every thing in trade 
must be made ivhole, and done up according 
to rule. 

One-bale. Jubiter Ammon ! Mebbe you 
mean that my bale is tore, by you sayin' it 
must be made ivhole. Dem it ! whar's yer 
eyes, man? Thar ain't a hole in it, nur a 
tored place. Now what you got to say, Mr. 
Tighty ? 

Merchant. This much : here's your mon- 
ey. You are the tightest customer I've run 
up against lately. 

One-bale. You mout a knowed that ef 
you'd a bin smart, and jist a peeped at my 
physmahogany. I've gi'n ye one more kink. 




TARB AN1> TKET. 



HAM RACHEL, OF ALABAMA, 249 



XXIII.— HAM RACHEL, OF ALABAMA. 

EuFAULA, Barbour County, Alabama, is a 
beautiful city, on the banks of the deep-chan- 
neled and rapid Chattahoochee, and in 1845, 
the time of the incidents of my story, was 
the mart of commerce for Barbour, Pike, 
Coffee, Dale, and Henry counties in Alaba- 
ma, and of several counties contiguous in 
Georgia. 

These Alabama counties were mostly set- 
tled by a poor, plain, hardy, robust, and hon- 
est people, many of them wholly uneducated. 
All they cared for was "to make buckle and 
tongue meet" by raising stock, a few bales of 
cotton, and a little corn for bread. Stock — 
cow stock — being the chief commodity, they 
were denominated "cow counties." 

Now, mind, these were the first settlers. 

Eufaula was a great city with them, like 

Paris, London, and New York to most folks. 

When a "squatter," as some naughtily call- 

L 2 



250 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

ed them, carried his one, two, or three bales 
to market in Eufaula, the "ole 'omun" must 
needs go, and maybe one or two of the 
" childering, " to see the "big town. " Hence 
you could see the ox-carts coming in, the 
"ole man" driving, and the "ole 'omun" 
sitting on the top of the one, two, or three 
bales, and the "childering" walking. The 
"ole 'omun" has brought with her several 
extra matters for sale : butter, eggs, socks, 
etc. Then for shopping after the "cotting" 
was sold. Hundreds of little notions must 
be bought, not forgetting a jug, at least, of 
the "good critter," for "ailments and sich 
things." 

Of course Eufaula exerted a great influ- 
ence over these counties in all things, par- 
ticularly in politics. As the town went in 
politics, so did the country. Their favorite 
merchants were their oracles in these mat- 
ters. 

To illustrate: 

I was in Eufaula in 1848, shortly after 
the candidates for the presidency, Cass and 
Taylor, were nominated. I was in the store- 
house of Mr. G , a Whig, when there 



HAM RACHEL, OF ALABAMA. 251 

came in one of the "sovereigns," a Demo- 
crat, a tall, stoop-slioulclerecl, sallow-faced, 
meek, quiet, teachable-looking man, with cop- 
peras "britches'" (no mistake), and a home- 
made cotton shirt, constituting his entire 
dress. His copperas was "gallused" up as 
high as his fork would admit, which nearly 
lifted him off the ground. His rustic looks 
and movements would have attracted the at- 
tention of the most unobserving man on 
earth. Mr. G. gave him a seat, Avhich he 
accepted, and sat down characteristically. 
When seated, he looked to Mr. G. with looks 
indicating, "Speak, for thy servant heareth. 
I am as a young bird ; cram any thing down 
me you choose." 

After drawing a long breath or two in a 
peculiar way, he said, 

"What do the people say about here in 
regard of the nomination for -pTesident, Mr. 
G.?" 

Mr. G. We are all for Taylor ; we know 
him ; he has fought our battles ; he is one 
of the people ; if he were to come to your 
cabin, he would be at home, drink butter- 
milk, eat bread and butter and yam potatoes 



252 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

with you. As to General Cass, he's been 
doing nothing all his life but scooting ca- 
noes up and down the Western waters, and 
knows nothing about statesmanship. Tay- 
lor is the man for the people ; hell be elect- 
ed sure. 

Copperas. Yes, IVe hearn ov Ginral Tay- 
lor; he has fout the Maxicans, and licked 
'um all up, like a cow licks up salt, and has 
kivered the nation with glory, like a bed- 
quilt kivers a bed ; but as to this man, Cass, 
I nuver hearn ov him afore. I didn't know 
thar was sich a man treadin' sole-leather. 

If Mr. Copperas did not see a merchant 
who was a Democrat before he left, he cer- 
tainly voted for Taylor. 

These things premised, it was my "man- 
ifest destiny" to spend a night in Barbour 
County in 1845, 1 believe — a night never to 
to be forgotten. It was on the main road 
between Clayton, the county seat, and Eu- 
faula, the mart of commerce. A little while 
before sundown I called at a very good-look- 
ing house, and requested to stay all night as 
a traveler. Permission was granted by the 
lady of the house. I saw no man! I soon 



HAM RACHEL, OF ALABAMA. 263 

learned that John M'D resided there, 

who had gone that day to Eufaula, and 
would soon return. I congratulated my- 
self on my good fortune in getting to a quiet, 
good house, where I could take a refreshing 
night's rest. But alas ! to moralize a little, 
how soon are our best, most sanguine hopes 
blasted ! A man knoweth not what a night 
may bring forth, as well as a day. 

I seated myself in the portico facing the 
public road, got hold of an old newspaper, 
almanac, or something of the kind, with 
which to amuse myself a little, but it was 
not long before I saw some half dozen wag- 
ons coming from toward Eufaula. They 
halted at the gate, came in with great free- 
dom and boldness, drew water from the well, 
and watered their teams, as though it be- 
longed to them, interspersing their labors 
with waggish remarks and blasphemy, not 
even respecting the presence of the lady, 
Mrs. M 'D . They then commenced pop- 
ping their whips about in the yard loud 
enough to shock the nerves of nervous peo- 
ple, and then asked the lady if she "mout 
have some chickens fur sale. We hain't bin 



254 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

eatin' nothin' but dried beef so long weVe 
wore ur corn-grinders down to the gums, 
and we want suthin' else by way of change. " 

"WeVe none for sale," replied Mrs. 
M'D . 

"No chickens !" said they. "Thar goes 
a durned old rooster, old as Mathuzlum, yit 
well buy him ruther than wear out ur teeth 
on dried beef Won't you sell him ? YouVe 
sartinly got uther roosters to sarve and take 
keer ov yer hens, hain't you V 

How the conference ended I can not tell, 
for I left, and retreated to another part of 
the house ; but one thing I do knoiv : those 
wagoners camped in the lane near the house. 

As night came on I saw that the uneasi- 
ness of Mrs. M 'D increased. ' She would 

go to the door and look toward Eufaula, ut- 
tering many nervous sighs. I suspected the 
cause, though I did not know that her hus- 
band loved "sperrits." Some time during 
the night I heard a crowd coming in at the 
gate. One peculiar voice, in short sentences, 
kept up a continual din, upbraiding and 
cursing "ole John fur gittin so o^igentle- 
manly dog drunk. " Soon as the lady heard 



HAM RACHEL, OF ALABAMA. 255 

that^ she understood it, and covered her face 
in her hands and sighed deeply. Then came 
the clambering of five or six men in at the 
door, no one speaking but that reproachful 
sententious voice. 

I left and went into another room. Soon 
that tormenting voice, which I soon learned 
was Ham Rachel's, sang out, 

"Here, boys, put the ole drunkard fool in 
the bed. Ef Ham Rachel hadn't a brought 
him home, he'd a now a bin a-lyin' in the 
streets ov Eufauly, ur lyin' along the road, 
a-keepin' company with hogs. The ole cuss, 
he nuver can go to Eufauly 'thout gittin' 
full as a bee on chamber-lye, though Ham 
Rachel is allers 'zortin' him like a preacher 
not to fill his cussed guts so full. Here, 

Mrs. M'D ," addressing himself to the 

lady, "here is yer old, poor, unfortinate hus- 
band, which Ham Rachel has had the good- 
ness to fetch home so offen agin and agin. 
The Lord on'y knows how oifen Ham will 
have ter fetch him home yit. Some ov 
these times, when Ham Rachel ain't about, 
ole Nick will git him, and Avill pour hot 
lead down his cussed throat instid o' liquor. 



256 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

Ham won't go down to ole Nick's deadnin 
to see ter him," etc., etc. 

Thus went on Ham Rachel ahnost end- 
lessly. All the difference I could see was 
"ole John" was "a few" the drunkest "In- 
jun" in the crowd that accompanied him 
home. 

I saw I was caught in a bad box, and re- 
solved to make the best of it. My course 
was soon determined upon ; I Avould have 
nothing to do with the crowd, and would 
have nothing to say to them ; I would keep 
my own room. With this resolution I went 
to the table. " Ole John's" attendants must 
have their suppers ; they were entitled to it, 
for they had brought the old man home. 
Ham E-achel, being "chief cook and bottle- 
washer" of the crowd, must, of course, have 
his supper. 

After grace was said, "God bless us and 
ur vittuls," Ham acting parson, being all 
hungry, we attacked the table with great 
energy. At the first assault there was no 
politeness displayed in helping each other. 
Ham generalized thus : 

"Ev'ry man fur hisself, and God for all. 



HAM RACHEL, OF ALABAMA. 257 

Help yerself, stranger; you look like you 
mout be a man what can weed yer own row, 
clean at that. I dun-no whar yer live, but 
doAvn here in these piny woods uvry man 
waits on hisself." 

Nothing more was said till the edge of our 
appetites was blunted ; but Ham all the 
time kept casting his inquisitive, restless 
eyes upon me, trying to read me like a book. 
At last he grew a little polite, and handed 
me a plate of fried yam potatoes. 

"Take some 'taters, stranger; mighty 
plenty down here in these sand-hills. The 
onY adjections Ham Kachel has to 'um, they 
make him a little too cholicified ; but a lit- 
tle number six will bring the wind from you 
with a dreadful racket. My old 'omun al- 
lers uses yerbs, but yerbs ain't strong enough 
fur Ham Rachel.*" 

On we went with our heavy assaults upon 
the table, demolishing whole dishes, "smit- 
in' them with the aige ov the soord," as 
Ham expressed it. 

"Stranger," said Ham, "take some but- 
ter ; that's half ur livin' in this cattle coun- 
try. It would be mighty tight times with 



258 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

US here ef it warn't fur milk and butter, cow- 
peas and yam 'taters. We'd look like the 
peaked eend uv nothin' ; though the mur- 
rin's bin mighty bad among cattle lately; 
but Ham Rachel has great reasons to be 
thankful, fur he hain't lost more'n twenty- 
five ur thirty head, big and little. *" 

We "swept the platter," and supper end- 
ed. I went to my room, determined to 
maintain my dignity and secrecy, hard as 
Ham was trying to read me. Ham follow- 
ed, determined to take me prisoner, read my 
history, and get my whereabouts, latitude 
and longitude. We sat down ; I purposely 
looked mum and dignified. Ham's curiosi- 
ty was aroused ; he could bear it no longer. 

"Stranger," said he, "you're too durned 
stiff and pertic'ler. Ham Hachel loves fur 
a man to be as plain as an old shoe, and as 
thick as cow-peas in thar liull. I've got to 
know suthin' about yer. When Ham Ra- 
chel (I wish you knowed him) begins a thing, 
he carries it through, ur breaks the swingle- 
tree. 

This was j^refatory ; here comes the main 
attack : 



HAM RACHEL, OF ALABAMA. £59 

Ham. Ef I mout be so bold, whar do you 
live, stranger? 

Stranger. I "mout" live in New York, 
New Orleans, Mobile, or Montgomery, or 
any where else. That's 'my business. 

Ham. By golly ! that's durned smart. 
But, stranger, that answer don't co-robber- 
rate to yer looks. That ain't you. Ham 
Kachel won''t answer a stranger that a-way. 
But 111 try yer agin, sence ye'r so ding snap- 
pish on that pint. Ef I mout be so bold, 
what sort o' biz'ness do yer foller, stranger? 

Stranger. That's too bold ; but since you 
must know, it is my "biz'ness" to follow 
my nose — a pretty long one at that, you see. 

Ham. Wusser and wusser. Durn it, I'll 
drap you. You're as snappish as a par o' 
sheep-shears. 

Ham left, and went to the camp of the wag- 
oners, who all the time had kept up every va- 
riety of noise, laughter, and vulgar witticisms. 
He had gone but a few minutes when ' ' ole 
John" became very sick, and commenced 
throwing up his "rot-gut whisky." The 
throes were terribly painful ; a human Ve- 
suvius was in dreadful volcanic action. At 



260 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

every throe the lava would fall upon the 
floor like a dashing cataract, accompanied 
with deep-toned groans. As the action in 
the crater went on in rajDid succession, it 
deepened and widened, and the streams of lava 
became more overwhelming and noisy. The 
bed creaked loudly, and every eruption look- 
ed as if it would throw him head foremost 
out of his resting-place. 

Ham heard the noise of the volcano, 
and thought he would now lead the stranger 
out in conversation. He came running into 
my room with gestures the most wild and 
frantic, and burst forth : 

"Stranger! stranger! do yer hear that 
ole devil pukin' out his innards ? I wouldn't 
keer a dried-apple durn ef he would puke 
hisself inside outurds. He nuver will listen 
ter Ham Rachel, which nuver was cotch in 
sich a fix. Ham drinks his drani and pays 
his bob in all licker crowds, but he allers 
travels and keeps what he posits in his in- 
nards. He loves licker too well to be throw- 
in' it away like ole John ; besides, he's too 
savin' a man ter be wastin' his vittuls in 
that a-Avay. He may puke up his stockin's 



HAM RACHEL, OF ALABAMA. 261 

afore 111 go a -near him. Poor Miss 

M 'D ! She'd no biz'ness a-marryin"' — 

a 'omun ov her age — marryin' sich a dried- 
up ole cracklin'." 

I still maintained my gravity, and Ham 
left and went to the noisy wagoners, who 
kept up their infernal din. The rest of the 
company — four — who came home with " ole 
John" and Ham, had lain down on pallets, 
and were running against each other in the 
snoring line as if some great prize were 
staked. No renowned artist, graphic pen, 
nor gifted music composer can describe the 
struggles and contests of these four rival 
snorers ; of course, I shall not attempt it. 

Before Ham left he gave them a blast 
thus : 

"What the devil are you arter here? 
a-sawin' gourds, grindin' coffee, filin' saws, 
beatin' tin pans, blowin"* horns, beatin' drums, 
bloAvin' fifes, shootin' pistols, and so forth, 
and so forth, breakin' the stranger ov his 
rest ? I'd have a little breedin', " 

I lay down about midnight, exposed to 
the cross-fire of three discordant batteries — 
the snorers, the wagoners, and the groaning^; 



262 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

of "ole John*" — my nerves being none the 
better for the contiguity. I dozed a little, 
but was soon roused by a new sound. It 
was at the wagoners' camp. It was the 
voice, tones, and intonations of a Hard-shell 
Baptist preacher. The old " heavenly tone" 
rang loudly "in the stilly night." It had 
the suck-in and the blow-out of the breath, 
the uli ! and the ah ! 

What! thought I, has some Greatheart 
of a preacher found those scapegraces and 
commenced a thundering sermon upon them? 
"Give it to them thick and heavy," said I 
to myself. 

I was not long in suspense, for here came 
Ham running into the room (a dim light 
was burning), puffing and blowing, with eyes 
and hands upturned toward heaven with 
holy horror and indignation. 

"Stranger! stranger! O stranger!" he 
shouted, "do you hear that? That's no 
preacher, stranger ; they're on'y a-mockin' 
preachin'. They're mockin' old Eldridge, 
who used ter hold forth in these deadnins, 
but run away and went to Texas. Afore 
he run away he baptized these very rascals 



HAM RACHEL, OF ALABAMA. 263 

who is a-mockin' him. Ham Rachel seen it 
with these peepers o' his, and what he sees 
he sees. IVe hearn 'um shout, sing hymns 
and sperritul songs with ole Eldridge. Durn 
ole Eldridge ! (Lord forgive Ham ! ), he's no 
better nur them, but that's no reason fur 
them to make fun o' religion. Ham Hachel 
(poor devil ! ) is no better nur he ought to be ; 
but, thanks ter Jubiter, he nuver made fun 
o' religion. Lord a massy on us, stranger ! 
do yer hear 'um at it yit ? I'm afeered the 
yeth will open her howills and swaller 'um 
up, like it done Korum, Datum, and Byhum 
in the willerness. Ham Rachers not a-gwine 
a-near 'um agin this night. Ham don't in- 
tend to be revolved in thar drefful catis- 
trough ; he'll fly up to roost right here." 

Down he lay on one of the pallets, and 
was soon contending for the prize among the 
snorers. About this time the preacher at 
the camp ended his services, and all went to 
sleep and to snoring except "ole John" and 
myself. "Ole John" kept up a groaning 
all night. 

In the morning we were all a stupid set — 
scarcely had energy to wash dirty hands and 



264 FISHER'S RIVER SKETCHES. 

faces — until the jugs were resorted to. ' ' Ole 
John" and I fared the worst : he was too 
sick to drink, and I was a rigid teetotaller. 

Breakfast came on. The attack on the 
table was feeble compared with the assault 
the evening before. On leaving, all were 
"dead-heads" except myself. The rest had 
paid their way by bringing "ole John" 
home. I paid my "fare" and left, but not 
alone. Not I. It has ever been my destiny, 
if there is a bore in reach, he will find me, 
and cling to me like one's shadow. 

While paying my bill. Ham shouldered 
his two jugs and prepared for traveling. 

" Stranger," he said, "the roads forks jist 
down yender ; one goes to Eufauly, and 
t'other by Ham Kachel's. As Ham's a-gwine 
home, he'll go that fur with yer, and show 
yer the right road." 

Suiting action to words, oif he "piked" 
for the gate. I mounted my horse, which 
had fared better than his master, and on we 
went. Ham all the way letting fly a diarrhcea 
of words and sentences, till we arrived at 
the "fork" of Ham's road. Ham halted. 
I then took a good parting look at him. 




HAM RACHEL, OP ALABAMA. 



HAM RACHEL, OF ALABAMA. 267 

There he stood, a lean, gaunt-looking speci- 
men of freakish humanity, about five feet 
eight inches high, stoop-shouldered, long- 
armed, and knock-kneed, with a peaked dish 
face, little black restless eyes, long keen nose, 
and big ears. His dress was cotton pants, 
dyed black with copperas and maple bark, 
a coarse cotton shirt, collar large and open, 
no vest, coat, nor socks. His hat was old, 
broad-brimmed, and slouched down over his 
shoulders behind, and turned up before. 
His pants were "gallused" to their utmost 
capacity, leaving considerable space between 
his knees and the tops of his old brogan 
shoes; not having on "drawers," of course 
the skin was exposed. His two jugs were 
part of his dress. They hung across his 
shoulders, before and behind, suspended to 
a wide black greasy leather strap, nearly 
down to his knees before and his calves be- 
hind. Thus this stransre fio-ure stood before 
me, independent as a wood-sawyer, and made 
his parting speech : 

"Stranger," said Ham, "that's the Eu- 
fauly road. But listen" (pointing down the 
road). " Do yer hear that cow-bell ? Thar 



268 FISHER'S RLVER SKETCHES. 

ain't less nur two hundred cattle arter that 
bell. That's Ham Rachers cow-bell, and 
them's his cattle" (giving me a significant 
look and Avink). "Stranger, give out yer 
Eufauly trip to-day, and go home with Ham 
Kachel, and stay a long week. He can treat 
yer like a king on the best these deadnins af- 
fords. Do yer see these jugs? then thar's 
more in Eufauly. Thar's plenty ov fiddles, 
gals, and boys 'bout here. I don't know 
whether ye'r married ur not : no odds ; yer 
wife Avon't know it, and the gals won't keer a 
durn. You may sing, pray, dance, drink, ur 
do any thing else at Ham Hachel's. He's 
none ov yer hide-bound, long-faced cattle, 
which strains at gnats and swallers camels, as 
ole Eldridge — durn him! — allers said in his 
preachin'. Come, stranger, the world Avasn't 
made in a day — took six, I think — come go 
wi' me." 

"I thank you kindly, sir," I replied. 
"Your generosity is great; but my busi- 
ness is quite pressing, and I must be going. 
Good-morning to you, sir; I am much 
obliged." 

' ' Good-by, stranger, " replied Ham. ' ' The 



HAM RACHEL, OF ALABAMA. 269 

Lord be wf you. You'll find but few sich 
men in yer travils as Ham Rachel." 

Ham took his road and I took mine, and 
that is the last I have seen or heard of him. 



THE END. 



POPULAR 



ENTERTAINING BOOKS 



JUST PUBLISHED BY 



HAEPER & BROTHERS, Franklin Square, N. Y. 



J^P" Hakper & Beotheks will send either of the following Works by 
Mail, postage paid (for any distance in the United States under 3000 miles), 
on receipt of the Money. 



A GOOD FIGHT, AND OTHER TALES. 

By Charles Reade, Author of "Love me Little, Love me 
Long,"&c. Embracing: L "A Good Fight." — II. "Jack of all 
Trades." — III. " Autobiography of a Thief." 12mo, Muslin. 



THE QUEEN OF HEARTS. 

A Novel. By Wilkie Collins, Author of "Antonina; or, 
The Fall of Rome. 12mo, Muslin. 



FISHER S RIVER, NORTH CAROLINA. 

Scenes and Characters by " Skitt, who was Raised Thar." 
Illustrated by John McLenan. 12mo, Muslin. 



HARPER & BROTHERS 



THE VIRGINIANS. 

A Tale of the Last Century. By W. M. Thackeray, Author 
of "The Newcomes," "Vanity Fair," "Pendennis," "Henry 
Esmond," "The Great Hoggarty Diamond," &c., &c. With Il- 
lustrations by the Author. 8vo, Paper, $1 75; Muslin, $2 00. 



MRS. ELLET'S WOMEN ARTISTS. 

Women Artists in all Ages and Countries. By Mrs. Ellet, 
Author of " Women of the American Revolution," &c. 12mo, 
Muslin. 



THE DIARY OF A SAMARITAN, 

In Narrative. By a Member of the Howard Association of 
New Orleans. 12mo, Muslin. 



THE PRAIRIE TRAVELLER. 

A Hand-Book for Overland Emigrants. With Maps, Illustra- 
tions, and Itineraries of the Principal Routes between the Missis- 
sippi and the Pacific. By R.^ndolph B. Marct, Captain U.S. 
Army. Published by Authority of the War Department. 16mo, 
Muslin. 



POPULAR AND ENTERTAINING BOOKS. 



PREACHERS AND PREACHING. 

By KiKWAN, Author of "Letters to Bishop Hughes," "Ro- 
manism at Home," "Men and Things in Europe," &c., &c. 
12mo, Muslin. 



HARRY LEE; 

Or, Hope for the Poor. With Illustrations. 12mo, Muslin, 
$100. 



HOWITT'S HISTORY OF AMERICA. 

A Popular History of the United States of America : from the 
Discovery of the American Continent to the Present Time. By 
Mary Howitt. Illustrated by numerous Engravings. 2 vols. 
Large 12mo, Muslin. 



A LIFE FOR A LIFE. 

By the Author of "John Halifax," "The Ogilvies," "The 
Head of the Family," &c., &c. Library Edition (uniform with 
the Library Edition of "John Halifax)," 12mo, Muslin, $1 00. 
Also, Cheap Edition, 8vo, Paper, 50 cents. 



HARPER &. BROTHERS' 



HENRY ST. JOHN, Gentleman, 
Of Elower of Hundreds, in the County of Prince George, Vir- 
ginia. A Tale of 1774, '75. By John Esten Cooke, Author 
of "Leather Stocking and Silk," "The Virginia Comedians," 
&c. ]2mo, Muslin, $1 00. 

LEVER'S GERALD FITZGERALD. 

Gerald Fitzgerald, " The Chevalier." A Novel. By Charles 
Lever, Author of " Charles O'Malley," " Glencore," " The Dodd 
Family Abroad," "Sir Jasper Carew," "Maurice Tiernay," 
&c. Complete. 8vo, Paper, 50 cents. 



MY THIRD BOOK. 

A Collection of Tales. By Louise Chandler Moulton, Au- 
thor of "This, That, and the Other" and "Juno Clifford." 
l2mo, Muslin, $1 00. 



ADAM REDE. 

A Novel. By George Eliot, Author of "Scenes of Clerical 
Life. 12mo, Muslin, $1 00. 



EPISODES OF FRENCH HISTORY 

During the Consulate and the First Empire. By Miss Pardoe. 
12mo, Muslin, $1 00. 



POPULAR AND ENTERTAINING BOOKS. 



DK. MACKAY'S TRAVELS IN AMERICA. 

Life and Liberty in America ; or, Sketcdes of a Tour in the 
United States and Canada in 1857-8. By Charles Mackay, 
LL.D., F.S.A. With Ten Illustrations. 12mo, Muslin, $1 00. 



AMERICAN WIT AND HUMOR. 

Illustrated by J. McLenan. 8vo, Paper, 50 cents. 



MISS STRICKLAND'S QUEENS OF SCOTLAND. 

Complete. Lives of the Queens of Scotland, and English 
Princesses connected with the Regal Succession of Great Britain, 
By Agnes Strickland. Vol. VIIL completing the Work. 
12mo, Muslin, $1 00 ; Sets in Muslin, |8 00 ; Half Calf, $14 80. 



WALTER THORNLEY; 

Or, A Peep at the Past. By the Author of "Allen Prescott" 
and "Alida" (Mrs. Sedgwick). 12mo, Muslin, $1 00. 



ABBOTT'S FRENCH REVOLUTION. 

The French Revolution of 1789, as vicAved in the light of Re- 
publican Institutions. By John S. C. Abbott, Author of "The 
History of Napoleon Bonaparte," "Napoleon at St. Helena," 
Histories of "Josephine," "Madame Roland," "Marie Antoin- 
ette," &c. With numerous Engravings. 8vo, Muslin, $2 50. 



HARPER & BROTHERS' 



THE WARS OF THE ROSES; 

Or, Stories of the Struggle of York and Lancaster. By J. G. 
Edgar, Author of " The Boyhood of Great Men," "The Foot- 
prints of Famous Men," " History for Boys," &c. Illustrations. 
16mo, Muslin, 60 cents. 



JOHN HALIFAX, Gentleman. 

A Novel. By Miss Mdloch, Author of "A Life for a Life," 
"Olive," "The Ogilvies," &c., &c. Library Edition, with Four 
Illustrations by Hoppin, 12nio, Muslin, $1 00 ; 8vo, Paper, 50 
cents. 



THE BERTRAMS. 

A Novel. By Anthony Teollope, Author of "Doctor 
Thorne." 12mo, Muslin, $1 00. 



LOVE ME LITTLE, LOVE ME LONG. 

A Novel. By Charles Reade, Author of "A Good Fight," 
"Peg WofBngton," "Christie Johnstone," "Never too Late to 
Mend," &c. 12mo, Muslin, 75 cents; Paper, 65 cents. 



THE ROMANCE AND ITS HERO. 

By the Author of " Magdalen Stafford." 12mo, Muslin, $\ 00. 



1^ 




I